Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid

Making Strides with Mental Wellness

Horizons Mental Health Clinic is pleased to offer a groundbreaking mental health education program called Mental Health First Aid. The classes are designed to help members of the public understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.

Before you can know how to help, you need to know when to help. We call this mental health literacy, or a basic understanding of what different mental illnesses and addictions are, how they can affect a person’s daily life, and what helps individuals experiencing these challenges get well.

— National Council for Behavioral Health

Why take Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)?

  • 64.1% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment ~ Mental Health America
  • 5.13% of youth report having a substance use or alcohol problem ~ Mental Health America
  • 1 in 5 teens and young adults lives with a mental health condition ~ National Alliance for Mental Illness
  • On average 123 people die by suicide each day ~ American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • From 1999-2016, 630,000 people died from drug overdose ~Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults live with a mental illness ~National Institute of Mental Health via the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

MHFA teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders.  This training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care.

  • MHFA-Adult (MHFA-A)focuses on helping people over the age of 18
  • MHFA-Youth (MHFA-Y)focuses on helping adolescents ages 6-18
  • teen MHFA (tMHFA) focuses on teaching MHFA skills to teens (grades 10-12) so they can help their friends/peers and then connect them to an adult

What You’ll Learn

Before you can know how to help, you need to know when to help. This “mental health literacy” is a basic understanding of different mental illnesses and addictions, how they can affect a person’s daily life, and what promotes wellness in affected individuals.

Training topics include: 

  • Common signs and symptoms of mental illness (including anxiety, depression, ADHD, psychosis)
  • Common Signs and symptoms of substance use
  • How to interact with a person in crisis
  • How to connect the person with help
  • Content on trauma, addiction and self-care and the impact of social media and bullying

Trainees learn a five-step action plan (ALGEE) encompassing the skills, resources, and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professionals, and/or develop self care and coping strategies.

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm.
  • Listen nonjudgmentally.
  • Give reassurance and information.
  • Encourage appropriate professional help.
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies.

Who Should Attend

  • Teachers
  • School staff and administration
  • Coaches
  • Camp Counselors
  • Youth group leaders
  • Parents
  • Employers
  • Police Officers/Fire Fighters/EMS
  • Hospital Staff
  • Faith leaders
  • Community members
  • Caring individuals

For more information about Mental Health First Aid, visit


  • MHFA-Y: Beth Akins, Holly Adcock, Herb McPherson, Megan Smyth
  • tMHFA:  Beth Akins and Holly Adcock, Herb McPherson, Megan Smyth
  • MHFA-A: Beth Akins and Holly Adcock, Pat Willis

Upcoming Classes



Teen – for more information about brining tMHFA to your school, contact Beth Akins

To register, contact Beth at or call 620-663-7595, ext. 6336.

Horizons Mental Health Clinic is happy to arrange courses for Fire/EMS personnel, teachers, and all those interested in learning more about mental health. Special classes can be arranged for groups of 10 or more. Classes are free for anyone living or working in Reno County, or $30 per person for those outside Reno county, thanks to generous funding by The United Way of Reno County.

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