Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) provides basic knowledge of mental illness, and initial help provided to a person developing a mental health problem, experiencing a mental health crisis, or a worsening of their mental health.
The benefits of learning Mental Health First Aid are two-fold. Taking this course helps you become more confident at helping people who are experiencing a mental health problem. Early intervention puts less strain on crisis supports, which costs society billions in resources.
The second benefit is for people (1 in 5 Canadians) who are living with mental illness. A greater understanding of mental health creates a more accepting and empathetic community. Better education and understanding validates the experiences of people living with mental health problems, and normalizes and humanizes mental illness.
These two changes work in unison to dismantle the stigma attached to mental illness, which creates more inclusive communities, and removes barriers in accessing social services and supports. Even though 50% of Canadians will have experienced mental illness by the age of 40, a 2016 survey indicated that 40% of Canadians experiencing anxiety or depression never seek medical help.
The MHFA program has been internationally evaluated, and proven to be effective.
Peer-reviewed studies published in multiple countries show that individuals trained in the program:
- Increase their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental health problems
- Decrease the social distance between themselves and someone with a mental health problem
- Increase their confidence to help someone experiencing a mental health crisis
- Can identify professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental health problem
- Show increased mental wellness themselves
MHFA Canada is included on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Best Practices Portal where it is classified as a best practice.