Skip to main content Skip to site navigation

Adult & Youth Mental Health First Aid
Get Trained in MHFA and YMFA - 4010 total trained!

General information

Hosted by The Office of Diversity and Equity

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is an interactive 8 hour public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. 

Participants will gain an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S., learn the risk factors and warning signs, build understanding of the impact of mental illnesses, and reviews common treatments.

Those who take the course to become certified as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care.

If you are interested in registering for or hosting a training, please complete this interest form by visiting http://bit.ly/SMC-BHRS-MHFA-INTEREST or by [file:19502]. 

Youth Mental Health First Aid

The Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) course is an 6-8-hour public education training program designed for any adult working with or assisting young people, ages 12-18. The course focuses on how to help a young person who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.

Participants will learn:

  • How to help a youth in a crisis or non-crisis situation who is experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge
  • Unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents
  • The importance of early intervention
  • A 5-Step Action Plan

The San Mateo County Office of Education has partnered with San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity to offer free YMHFA certification training to all schools throughout the county. Through school-based YMHFA training, campus communities can help bridge a student in crisis to the appropriate help they need.

To take a course or to host a course at your location, contact Sylvia Tang at stang@smcgov.org or 650-578-7165.

See what people are saying:

Certified instructors are available to provide FREE training on-site for groups of 15-30. To attend a FREE, local Youth Mental Health First Aid course or to host a YMHFA course at your location, contact Sylvia Tang at stang@smcgov.org or 650-578-7165.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should become a Mental Health First Aider?

Primary care professionals, employers and business leaders, faith communities, school personnel and educators, state police and corrections officers, nursing home staff, mental health authorities, state policymakers, volunteers, young people, families, and the general community are highly encouraged to become Mental Health First Aiders.

How long is the Mental Health First Aid training?

The Mental Health First Aid training is 8 hours. Participants must attend the entire 8 hours to become certified.

Can we shorten or condense the training?

No. The evidence-based program is designed to run for 8 hours.

Can the training be split into two parts?

Yes. The training can be offered in a variety of formats. Most often, the training is provided in one 8 hour day, or in two 4-hour sessions spaced over a short period of time. 

What is the class size?

The training can accommodate a class size of 15 to 30 individuals. 

Is the program evidence-based?

Yes. In July 2013, the federal government added Mental Health First Aid to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). Mental Health First Aid has strong evidence backing it. Data from three quantitative and one qualitative studies has shown that the program improves people’s mental health, increases understanding of mental health issues and treatments, connects more people with care, and reduces stigma.

Do I receive a certificate for completing the training?

Yes. Participants will receive a certificate after completing the course. The certification expires in three years from the day participants were trained. 

What is included in the training?

Manuals, and materials are provided free of charge. Some trainings may include refreshments and lunch.

How much does the training cost?

This course is valued at $170. Thanks to the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) funding and a partnership between Kingdom Love, LLC and San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity, approved registrants may attend at no charge.

Is the course offered in other languages?

The course is offered in English and Spanish. Cantonese and Mandarin interpretation is also available but printed materials will be in English.

How do I register for a training?

If you are interested in registering for a training, please complete this interest form by visiting http://bit.ly/SMC-BHRS-MHFA-INTEREST or by [file:19502]. 

How can I bring the training to my work site?

Certified instructors are available to provide free training to groups of 15-30 people.  If you are interested in hosting a training, please complete this interest form by visiting http://bit.ly/SMC-BHRS-MHFA-INTEREST or by [file:19502].