British Columbia

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

About MHFA

Mental Health First Aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem, experiencing the worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. Just like physical first aid is provided until medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate support is found or until the crisis is resolved.

In MHFA courses, you will gain a solid understanding of the 5 basic actions of ALGEE:

  • Assess the risk of suicide and/or harm
  • Listen non-judgmentally
  • Give reassurance
  • Encourage professional support
  • Encourage other supports


ALGEE is the framework for having a confident conversation about mental health with family, friends, colleagues, and strangers.

MHFA Course (Type) Options


Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) - Basic

MHFA Basic is intended for adults interacting with adults (18 years and older). This 12-hour course focuses on the four most common mental health disorders including substance related, mood related, anxiety and trauma related, and psychotic disorders. Participants who take this 12-hour classroom course are well prepared to interact confidently about mental health with their family, friends, communities, and workplaces.

Supervisors will also have access to mentorship support and a library of leadership resources to enhance their ongoing development.

Key Outcomes

International evaluations and feedback have found the following outcomes for participants undertaking an MHFA course:

  • Increased awareness of signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems
  • Decreased stigma related to mental health
  • Increased confidence interacting with individuals experiencing a mental health problem or crisis
  • Increased help actually provided to individuals in crisis or experiencing a mental health problem

Crisis first aid skills learned:

  • Substance overdose
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Panic attack
  • Acute stress reaction
  • Psychotic episode

Course Recap

  • Duration: 12 hours (Classroom) - Lunch is provided
  • 5 sections
  • Class size: 8-25

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) - Standard (Face-to-face)

This 9-hour course opens with a self-directed module (Module 1) that focuses on the information and strategies that participants will discuss and practise throughout the classroom modules (Modules 2 and 3).

Course participants are required to complete Module 1 before participating in Module 2 and 3.

Upon registration to the self-directed module, participants will have access to an electronic version of the “MHFA Participant Reference Guide” that outlines MHFA actions for developing mental health and substance use problems, and mental health and substance use crises.

Course Objectives

Course participants will learn how to recognize signs that a person may be experiencing a decline in their mental well-being or a mental health crisis and encourage that person to:

  • Talk about declines in their mental well-being
  • Discuss professional and other supports that could help with recovery to improved mental well-being
  • Reach out to these supports
  • Assist in a mental health or substance use crisis
  • Use MHFA actions to maintain one’s own mental well-being

Module Course Outline

Module 1: Self-Directed – Online

  • Introduction to the course
  • Introduction to MHFA actions

Module 2: Classroom

  • Practise applying MHFA actions to situations of declining mental well-being
  • Guidelines for MHFA conversations with people from diverse cultures and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community

Module 3: Classroom

  • Discussion on using MHFA actions for self-care
  • Practise using MHFA actions in crisis situations

Course Recap

  • Duration: 9 hours (Self Directed-Online/Classroom) - Lunch is provided
  • 3 sections
  • Class size: 8-15