Mental Health First Aid Training

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Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that trains individuals in a community to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training is especially useful in rural communities where access to mental health services may be limited.

The National Council for Community Behavioral Health is the custodian of Mental Health First Aid. The SAMHSA/HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions has tailored the Mental Health First Aid program to rural populations and it is being offered to rural communities nationwide.

We ask that you consider sharing this information with your networks via email, newsletters, or at meetings. The Quick Start Guide makes organizing a Rural Mental Health First Aid training in your community straightforward and simple.

About the Training

Rural Mental Health First Aid training is offered through an interactive 12-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders, and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems. Participants learn a 5-step action plan to help individuals in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care.

Who Might Want to Take the Training?

The training is appropriate for just about anyone. Examples of training participants include non-clinical primary care, mental health, and substance abuse treatment staff; school and counseling personnel; social and human services providers; local law enforcement; corrections officers; nursing home staff; outreach workers; volunteers; clergy and members of faith communities; young people; families; and the general public.

How Do I Bring the Training to My Community?

The training is easy to organize and is relatively low-cost per person.

  • We can connect you with a Mental Health First Aid trainer in your community or region.
  • Learn how you can become a certified instructor to teach the 12-hour course.

If you would like to find a trainer or learn more about Rural Mental Health First Aid, please contact Ria Muttukumaru, Training and Referral Coordinator for the project, at rmuttukumaru@atlasresearch.us or 202-717-8725. Also, feel free to share this email with other potentially interested organizations and individuals in your community and state.


Outreach for the Rural Mental Health First Aid project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration under contract #HHSH250201200095P with Atlas Research and the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health.