If you are in distress, you can call or text 988 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

Mental Health First Aid Standard

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the support provided to a person who may be experiencing a decline in their mental well-being or a mental health crisis.

Course Objective

While we often know a lot about physical illness, there tends to be less knowledge about mental health or substance use problems. This lack of understanding leads to fear and negative attitudes toward individuals living with mental health or substance use problems. It prevents people from seeking help and providing appropriate support to people around them.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is offered to someone with an emerging mental health or substance use problem or in crisis, until appropriate treatment is found or the situation resolves. An evidence-based course, MHFA Standard has been proven to give participants:

  • the tools to recognize signs of decline in mental well-being.
  • the ability to talk about their mental health.
  • the knowledge to discuss professional and other supports that could help with recovery or improved mental well-being.
  • the confidence to reach out to these supports.
  • the tools to assist during a mental health or substance use crisis, and.
  • the knowledge to use MHFA actions to maintain one’s own mental wellness.


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

Upon registration, participants will receive a Participant Reference Guide which outlines MHFA actions for mental health and substance use problems and crises.

Module 1: Self-directed module that introduces participants to the concepts of the course and Mental Health First Aid actions.

Module 2: Live classroom module that discusses tools on how to apply MHFA actions to situations of declining mental well-being and guidelines for MHFA conversations with diverse populations.

Module 3: Live classroom module that gives participants the opportunity to practice applying MHFA actions to crisis situations and discusses the importance of self-care.

Course layout

This course is offered in virtual and in-person delivery methods.

Crisis first aid and interventions for:

  • suicidal behaviour
  • panic attacks
  • overdose
  • acute stress reaction and,
  • psychotic episodes

Course model

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

“The well-being of our coworkers, our communities, our families, and ourselves has never been more important. The Mental Health First Aid training has taught us how to be more confident when supporting those around us.”- CEO & Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Canada

With MHFA, you can learn to support the needs of specific groups. Check it out!

Mental Health First Aid Facilitator Training

Denise Waligora
Become a certified Mental Health First Aid facilitator. Join our program and learn to train others to provide much-needed support.

MHFA Police

A female police officer getting out of her patrol car. She is smiling, looking at the camera, leaning one arm on the open door of the vehicle. The lights are on.
MHFA Police is tailored to the needs of police. It focuses on improving police interactions where mental health may be an issue.

MHFA Northern Peoples

Two snowshoers kiss on the frozen snow on Great Slave Lake in Canada's Arctic. | Deux raquetteurs s'embrassent sur la neige gelée du Grand lac des Esclaves, dans l'Arctique canadien.
A Mental Health First Aid course tailored to reflect the values used to guide Indigenous ways of living.

MHFA Inuit

Inuit mother and daughter in fur coats posing on a sea side
A course designed by Inuit, for Inuit and for those who work with Inuit.

MHFA First Nations

Cheerful Navajo young woman wearing traditional jewerly | Joyeuse jeune femme Navajo portant des bijoux traditionnels
Mental Health First Aid First Nations is a spark that awakens the courage to have open and honest conversations about mental health with family, friends, and others. It is part of a larger journey that helps strengthen the connections within communities.

MHFA Older Adults

Senior fitness man doing kettle bell exercises inside gym - Fit mature male training in wellness club center - Body building and sport healthy lifestyle concept | Homme de fitness senior faisant des exercices de kettlebell à l'intérieur de la salle de gym - Entraînement masculin mature dans le centre du club de bien-être - Concept de musculation et de sport mode de vie sain
Increase the capacity to promote mental health and prevent mental illness and suicide in older adults and to intervene early when problems first emerge.

MHFA Supporting Youth

Portrait of friends embracing in the street
The course is designed for members of the public who have frequent contact with young people (ages 12 to 24), for example, parents and guardians, school staff, sports coaches, and youth workers.

MHFA Veteran Community

A military dad and his son are hugging in their living room. The son is smiling happily at the camera.
This course is designed to increase skills and confidence to engage in effective conversations about mental health in the Veteran community.

Mental Health First Aid Case Studies

13 February 2024
“The credibility that the Mental Health Commission brings to Opening Minds programs was a key factor in our decision to implement The Working Mind for managers and MHFA.”
29 January 2024
CGI began to prioritize mental health in 2015, primarily due to the growing recognition of the impact that mental health issues were having on its consultants and professionals, which ultimately resulted in increased healthcare costs.
23 December 2022
In Saskatchewan, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) education is a shared responsibility between the Ministry of Education, under the authority of the Minister of Education, and locally elected boards of education. There are 27 school divisions in Saskatchewan, including public school divisions, separate school divisions, and the francophone school division.
13 May 2022
Founded in 1983 in Canada, nabs is a unique charity specifically designed to support the health and well-being of all individuals in the media, marketing, and communications industry in Canada.


Interested in mental wellness training?
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Our Impact at Work

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Latest News

In 2023, 7.5% of SHN's workforce underwent TWM training – a testament to the program's growing impact. The team at SHN has witnessed a surge in interest, with the session's
SHN Logo

Latest News

In 2023, 7.5% of SHN's workforce underwent TWM training – a testament to the program's growing impact. The team at SHN has witnessed a surge in interest, with the session's
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