Mental Health First Aid

Become a Mental Health First Aider today with this inspiring and empowering metal health education program offered by NAMI SFV. FREE for anyone who lives, works, or learners in the San Fernando Valley area. This is thanks to a grant we received from Dignity Health and UniHealth Foundation, through the Cultural Trauma and Mental Health Resiliency Project.

“How are you?” is a common greeting in the United States, but very rarely do people usually share how they are actually doing in response to that question. Usually, people will say they’re doing fine, but what if they are not? Do you have the tools needed to help someone who is not doing OK? Mental Health First Aid is a free program that can empower you to help your community, friends, and loved ones if they are struggling with mental health. This program is free to all residents of the San Fernando Valley through NAMI SFV and is one of their helpful Youth Programs in the San Fernando Valley

This evidence-based program was created using studies and psychological expertise to create a toolkit that any trained Mental Health First Aider can use when they encounter someone in need of support. For those looking to make actionable changes in their community and families, becoming Mental Health First Aid certified is a great step. 

The Role of a Mental Health First Aider

Mental Health First Aid, developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health and provided by NAMI SFV, does not supersede medical training or programs. Instead, it is a program that can help everyday people learn how to best support those around them, getting their loved ones and community members connected to valuable resources to help improve their mental health. 

After getting Mental Health First Aid training from NAMI SFV, you will be able to identify warning signs or symptoms of mental health struggles and assist people on the path to getting help. Mental Health First Aid helps to reduce stigmas surrounding mental health struggles and assist individuals from all cultures and walks of life. The program touches on topics such as suicide prevention education, self-care, and cultural differences in mental health stigmas and treatment. 

Though Mental Health First Aiders are able to identify signs and symptoms of mental health challenges and crises, they are unable to diagnose or treat these situations. Instead, they are skilled in identifying that someone needs help and connecting the person in need to the next step of help, such as community crisis resources, therapists, drug treatment programs, or additional support. 

What You’ll Learn in Mental Health First Aid

The Mental Health First Aid program provided by NAMI SFV includes a self-guided lesson block and a video meeting between instructors and students via Zoom. Together, these programs help Mental Health First Aid students learn concepts of the program and practice them across numerous scenarios. Upon completion of the program, certified Mental Health First Aiders will be able to:

  • Identify a person in need of mental health support
  • Begin a dialogue with the person in need 
  • Connect that person with supportive resources or programs 
  • Learn to de-escalate challenging situations 
  • Support someone who has experienced a crisis situation

The sooner someone in need receives support, the better. Trauma is a common thread at the root of many mental health challenges, and Mental Health First Aid empowers you to help those who are struggling so they can find a path of healing.

How Culture Influences the Mental Health First Aid Process

One key to following the Mental Health First Aid program is to understand the impact culture has on our experiences with mental health. Certain cultural norms may create increased stigmas surrounding mental health or interactions between people. The Mental Health First Aid program can help you understand how culture impacts mental health support and provide people the crucial first steps to support without causing undue stress due to cultural differences. 

How to Become Mental Health First Aid Certified

Whether you’re looking to help people who are struggling with substance use, trauma, thoughts of suicide, depression, severe psychotic states, or other struggles, Mental Health First Aid is a program that can give you the tools you need to help people who are facing these situations. 


The Mental Health First Aid program is available free to anyone who lives, works, or studies in the San Fernando Valley area. Contact Youth Programs Director Yasmin Irfani [email protected] to sign up today!

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  • Robert Howard
    published this page in Blog 2020-11-17 00:28:40 -0800



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