When someone’s in distress, a quick and compassionate response is just as important for mental health as it is physical health. Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to help people who may be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.

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Mental Health First Aid is an international, evidence-based training that teaches participants how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health crisis and help someone who may be experiencing one. Grounded in messages of hope and recovery, this program helps break down the misinformation surrounding mental health and helps trainees understand how they can play a role in the “first response” to mental health issues. Trainees are taught how to use a five-step action plan (ALGEE) to help someone experiencing a mental health issue, and connect them to the care and resources they need to recover:Hands making a heart

  • Approach, assess for risk of suicide or harm, assist
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Since 2017, Michigan State University Extension has been offering Mental Health First Aid training to both its own staff and external organizations. As of 2022, around 450 MSU Extension staff and over 1,000 Michigan residents have been trained in Mental Health First Aid by our team.

Currently, this training is available as: 

  • Mental Health First Aid, which prepares adults 18 years and older to help other adults 18 years and older who may be developing or experiencing a mental health challenge.
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid, which prepares adults 18 years and older to help children ages 12-18 who may be developing or experiencing a mental health challenge.
  • Teen Mental Health First Aid, which prepares teens 15-18 years old (10th-12th grades) to help peers who may be developing or experiencing a mental health challenge.
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Mental Health First Aid 2022 Team Members

Our Impact

1,000+

people trained by MSU Extension in Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid

97%

of participants say they can better recognize signs of a mental health crisis

>70%

of MSU Extension trained in Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid