Mental Health First Aid

WHAT IS Mental health first aid?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an six-hour hybrid training designed to give participants the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.  The course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to recognize and respond to the warning signs and symptoms of a mental illness or emotional crisis.

The course is tailored specifically for University cultures to include:

  • A discussion of campus culture and its relevance to the topic of mental health.
  • A discussion of the specific stress and risk factors faced by the higher education population.
  • Application of the action plan in a number of scenarios designed specifically for campus community members.
  • A review of the mental health resources on campus and community partners.

Why Mental Health first aid?

Mental Health First Aid helps participants understand that mental illnesses and substance use disorder are real, common, treatable, and that it is okay to seek help. Research indicates this program's effectiveness in improving knowledge of mental illness and substance use, removing fear and misunderstanding, and enabling those trained to offer concrete assistance.  Mental Health First Aid is proven to be effective and is listed in SAMHSA's registry of evidence-based programs and practices.

How do i register for a mhfa training?

The office of Prevention, Outreach, & Wellness Education Resources (POWER) within Student Success -Student Well-being offers several trainings for students, faculty, and staff throughout the semester. 

This blended learning course allows participants to take a 2-hour online course prior to the 6-hour virtual training.  Participants MUST register in advance to ensure they have time to complete the 2-hour online course or they will not be permitted to attend the virtual training.  Registration for the training closes one week prior to the virtual training date.  All seats are purchased in advance through the MHFA platform, therefore refunds are not permitted.  Any course changes must be submitted 72-hours prior to the virtual training date. Participants must attend the full eight-hour training to receive the certification.

Course Offerings

Course offerings for the Spring 2023 Semester: TBD

Individuals wanting to complete MHFA training, please register using this LINK.  MHFA offerings from Student Well-being are only available to the University of Kentucky community (i.e current students, faculty, and staff). Individual offerings are subject to be cancelled if fewer than 8 participants register.

Departments with twelve or more individuals wanting to be trained can request a MHFA Request Training Form for your team members. To request a team training form, contact Thomas Ard at with possible dates, cost center, and approximate attendee number.  The cost for training is $30 per person which includes the 3-year MHFA certification.

IMPORTANT UKY Employees: Pro cards or reimbursements using personal credit cards are not permitted per the University.  

HOW DOes MHFA differ from Question, persuade, refer (QPR)?

UK Counseling Center offers on going QPR classes intended to teach participants three steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.  QPR is a free, 60-90 minute suicide prevention training that teaches participants how to recognize a suicide crisis and how to get help.  For more information about QPR click here.

WHY BOTH? Mental Health First Aid is a great starting point due to the comprehensive approach covering the basics of a broad spectrum of situation you might encounter, while trainings like QPR, Working Minds, and Safe2Tell can give you more specific resources for suicide prevention.