Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid®

Mental Health First Aid® is an international program designed to educate the public on how to respond in a mental health emergency, and offer support to someone in emotional distress.  Training allows for early detection and intervention by teaching participants about the signs and symptoms of specific illnesses like anxiety and depression, and providing concrete tools to be able to assist someone in need. 

The National Council for Behavioral Health brought Mental Health First Aid® to the U.S. in 2008.  As of 2017, more than 1 million individuals across the country have been trained as Mental Health First Aiders through a strong network of certified instructors.  Participants who complete the training and show understanding of an action plan receive a designation of Mental Health First Aider. 

NECC offers training to faculty and staff, as well as groups in the community with its own certified instructor. 

-The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

-Nearly one in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness (44.7 million in 2016). (National Institute of Mental Health

-Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-age students. (Huffington Post via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

These are harrowing statistics, but there’s good news: Anyone can make a dramatic difference, and all it takes is one day’s time. 

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches individuals how to help someone who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

By recognizing signs of mental health distress and knowing how to communicate with individuals experiencing these scary moments, we can be part of an immensely impactful early intervention effort. If we identify problems early, we increase the chances people get the help they need as soon as possible.

 Northern Essex Community College offers Mental Health First Aid training. We’ve taught over 100 people these valuable skills, and we’d love to work with your company/organization/group to teach them, too. For more information on Mental Health First Aid and how to become a certified Mental Health First Aider, contact Sharon McManus at or at 978-556-3960.