About the Program

Mental Health First Aid USA – is managed, operated, and disseminated by 3 national authorities – the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Mental Health First Aid is an evidence based curriculum that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in youth and adults. Research has shown that those trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence in providing help to others and are more likely to advise people to seek professional help.

“Thank you so much for the fantastic training this week. I never imagined that later in the day I would be using the training! I had a situation with a resident who had a boyfriend who was intending on harming himself, via text! I walked her through the ALGEE* action plan steps on the phone and she was able to relay the information until help arrived! Which, by the way, was the crisis team at Cardinal! I have done this work a long time and knew that I had the skills necessary for support, but after your training felt even more confident in the delivery! Thank you for making HOPE happen for so many!”
– Debbie O’Handley, Executive Director with Hope House Foundation, Mecklenburg County

*ALGEE is the mnemonic device or learning technique that aids in retaining the information learned in MHFA.
Assess for risk of suicide or harm
Listen nonjudgmentally
Give reassurance and information
Encourage appropriate professional help
Encourage self-help and other support strategies

“Unfortunately, I was in a situation tonight which called upon my new skills. I was volunteering at an event when an agitated, unwell person became disruptive and refusing to leave the premises. I was able to stay calm (and keep the other event staff calm), calm him down using the MHFA skills, and prevent any escalation or physical altercations. Police trained in crisis intervention needed to be involved and thankfully no one was hurt in the meantime. So I want to thank you very much for providing this class and teaching it so well. I don’t think that I would have been able to diffuse the situation effectively before this training. I’m so glad this resource is available.”
– Natalia Posthill

Become a Mental Health First Aider

Join the more than 10,000 North Carolinians who are Mental Health First Aiders.

mhfa chart

Find a course near you at:

Become an Instructor  MHFAsummit3

DHHS is pleased to sponsor the upcoming Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training sessions.  If you, or someone you know, is interested in becoming an Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor in North Carolina, please see the application for more information. 

Upcoming instructor certification training sessions:

March 14 – 18, 2016 – Youth, Guilford Technical Community College Aviation Center #3, Greensboro
April 25 – 29, 2016 – Adult, Alliance Behavioral Health, Durham
July 11 – 15, 2016 – Youth, Eastpointe, Lumberton

North Carolina now has over 300 certified instructors, with many being dually certified in the Youth and Adult curricula.  Ongoing support for Instructors is available through an active online learning community — where instructors can connect with others in their region, troubleshoot dilemmas and obtain and share resources with each other.

Instructors from across the state gathered on May 18, 2015  for the first North Carolina Instructors Summit.



NC MHFA Team and Summit Guest Speakers: Betsy Schwartz, VP, Council for Behavioral Health; Tara L. Bohley, UNC-Behavioral Healthcare Resource Program; DHHS Sec. Aldona Wos, MD; Rachel Johnson, DMHDDSAS; Kathryn Falbo-Woodson, UNC-BHRP. Not Pictured: Sonya Brown, DMHDDSAS and Lisa Lackmann, UNC-BHRP

MH First Aid in the News

NC holds first statewide MHFA Instructors Summit

NC Health News 2014/02/26 Helping Teens, Preventing Suicides

DHHS Launches Youth Mental
Health First Aid to
Address Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Issues

Contact Us

Mental Health First Aid Program Contact:

Media Contact: | 919-855-4840

NC Graduates first Youth MHFA Instructors – Event Photos, February 21, 2014

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View all photos from the event.