Mental Health First Aid is an interactive 8-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Those who take the 8-hour course to certify as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care.
The cost of the class is $20. It is 8 hours long and includes a 3 year certification.
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Mental Health First Aid Colorado (MHFA)
In a Mental Health First Aid course, you will learn signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge or crisis, what to do in an emergency, and where to get help.
How long does my certification last?
You are certified for three years, but you can take a refresher any time you want. You can renew your certification by attending another class.
Do I have to use Mental Health First Aid?
No. You are not obligated to use what you learn in Mental Health First Aid, and you should always put your own safety first when you are considering using MHFA. If you do decide to use MHFA, you are covered by the Good Samaritan law, which protects physical first aiders as well. Use MHFA when it is appropriate and safe!
What if someone doesn’t want my help?
At the end of the day, you are not responsible for others (except to the extent that your profession might require you to intervene). Persistence can be helpful, and so can giving a person many options, like calling or texting the Colorado Crisis Line, attending a support group, or learning to meditate with an app on their phone. If a young person doesn’t want help, a conversation with their parents or school counselor could be productive. If parents don’t want help for their child, a young person 15 or older can seek outpatient treatment independently. This doesn’t include medication or inpatient treatment, but it might be a good place to start. Often, it takes time for someone to come to terms with a solution on their own. Be patient!
What about my mental health?
We’re so glad you asked! Self-care is incredibly important for first aiders. Check out this map with all of our amazing community mental health centers in Colorado! You can access more information about local resources and Colorado Crisis Services here. If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you identify as male (or if you want to see what the fuss is all about), check out the good stuff from our friends at Man Therapy here.
Is there an age requirement to be certified as a MH First Aider?
The minimum age is 18, but for many young people, the material in the MHFA curriculum makes them feel personally responsible for the well-being of those around them. A conversation with parents or mentors of a young person is often necessary to determine whether it would be appropriate for a young person to take Mental Health First Aid.