Mental Health First Aid

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The cost of mental illnesses to the Canadian economy is estimated at over $50 billion annually, with $20 billion of that stemming directly from workplace losses. On average, mental health issues cost businesses almost $1,500 per employee, per year*

Mental Health First Aid will help you and your team identify emerging issues in people they work with and care about. And they’ll learn exactly the right steps to take so their colleagues, friends, and loved ones can get the help they need ASAP.

*Mental Health Commission of Canada

people holding hands showing support

Needs Assessment Will Cover

mental health checklist
  • Staff size & demographics

  • Current staff knowledge of & experience with supporting mental health

  • Mental health programs/policies/supports currently in place 

  • Any problems/trends/ experiences of particular concern (to determine best potential instructor match)

If I sprain my ankle, chances are you’ll know what to do.
If I have a panic attack, chances are you won’t.

People in their early and prime working years are among the hardest hit by mental health problems and illnesses. At any given time, about 21.4% of the working population in Canada experience mental health problems which can affect their productivity.

Further, mental health problems and illnesses account for approximately 30% of short and long-term disability claims and are rated one of the top three drivers of such claims by more than 80% of Canadian employers.

girl's eye close up

We know that you want to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of the people you work with.  When we start to notice behaviour and attitude changes in people around us, it’s hard to know if and when to express concern, and how to even start the conversation for worries of being perceived as intrusive, nosey, or out of line.  

And so we often say nothing.  

Many people dealing with mental health and substance use disorders often start in adolescence or early adulthood, and kids often struggle longer than they have to because the people around them don’t know how to recognize the signs, how to get them to open up, or what resources to turn to.


This course was developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and is taught by certified instructors. 

It is now available virtually for the first time.

Your entire team is a part of the support network for each other. Together, you can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, offer a critical lifeline to the ones who need it most, and create a supportive and proactive work culture.

Contact us today to book your training so your team can stop feeling helpless, and can start feeling confident that they know exactly what to do.

What People Are Saying...


How IT Works


1. Enroll

Choose your virtual training date

2. learn

Complete a self-directed online
module within 2 weeks of your live training stat date. 

Approximately 2 hours

3. train

Attend live online training with a certified Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructor.

Two 3.5-hour sessions

From the Mental Health Commission of Canada …

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the support provided to a person who may be experiencing a decline in their mental well-being or a mental health crisis. The Mental Health Commission of Canada reports that one in every five Canadians experiences a mental health problem within a given year. While we often know a lot about physical illness, there tends to be less knowledge about mental health or substance use problems. This lack of understanding leads to fear and negative attitudes towards individuals living with these problems. It prevents people from seeking help for themselves and from providing appropriate support to people around them.

Course participants will learn how to recognize signs that a person may be experiencing a decline in their mental well-being or a mental health crisis and encourage that person to

  • Talk about declines in their mental well-being

  • Discuss professional and other supports that could help with recovery to improved mental well-being

  • Reach out to these supports

  • Assist in a mental health or substance use crisis

  • Use MHFA actions to maintain one’s own mental well-being

Why take this course?


There is stigma associated with mental health problems. Evidence shows that taking an MHFA courses reduces social distance between the participant and someone experiencing a mental health problem.


One person in five will experience a mental health problem this year. Evidence shows that MHFA course participants increase their awareness of signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems.


The most difficult part of intervening is knowing what to say. Evidence shows that taking an MHFA course increases the confidence participants have in engaging someone experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.


Mental health first aid coure content

Day 1 (Module 1) Self-Directed Online
(2 hrs)

This self-guided module will introduce you to the information and strategies that will be discussed and practiced during the instructor-led classes.  Module must be complete no later than three days prior to Day 2.

  • What is Mental Health First Aid?
  • MHFA Action Plan                 
  • ALGEES in Action
  • Developing Helpful Knowledge, Attitudes & Behaviours
  • Closing Activity
  • Quiz                                          

Day 2 (Module 2) Live Online with Instructor (3.5 hrs)

Day 2 focuses on Mental Health First Aid for declining wellbeing.  Participants will learn how to assess changes in behaviour and will practice critical skills for starting a conversation with someone they’re concerned about, listening non-judgmentally, and determining if further support or resources are necessary.

  • Role of a Mental Health First Aider
  • MHFA Action Steps (ALGEES) 
  • Assessing the Situation + Self-Awareness Activity
  • Communicating  Respectfully & Possible Challenges                              
  • Case Studies & Debrief           
  • Signs of Declining Wellbeing

Day 3 (Module 3) Live Online with Instructor (3.5 hrs)

Day 3 covers Mental Health First Aid for crisis situations including panic attacks, suicidal ideation, overdose, and psychotic episodes. Participants will also learn the importance of self-care for themselves after supporting someone with their mental health or a mental health crisis.

  • Challenges to Providing Mental Health First Aid          
  • Breakout Activity &  Debrief  
  • Crisis Situations                      
  • Safety Plans 
  • Group Work & Debrief – Crisis Scenarios     
  • Self-Care for First Aider
  • Closing Activity & Next Steps to Keep Learning


Only $365 Per Person


Inclusion & Bonuses

Mental health standard certification inclusion and bonuses 1


Access to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) 200+ page quick reference guide that includes signs & symptoms, risk factors, and first aid steps for each  of the mental health problems covered in the course

Mental health standard certification inclusion and bonuses 2


10-point checklist to develop or check your own company policy for dealing with mental health problems. 

Mental health standard certification inclusion and bonuses 3


Organizations will receive one copy of the MHCCs print reference guide to keep on-site so it’s handy
for anyone who needs it. 

Value $45

Mental health standard certification inclusion and bonuses 4


Most of us have young people in our lives. And young people have seen the greatest increase in
mental health problems since the pandemic. Because emerging mental health concerns in young
people can be hard to distinguish from regular adolescent behaviour, we’ve developed these extra resources for you

  • 45-minute video on anxiety in youth – what it looks like, what it feels like, and how to help them dial anxiety down in the moment
  • Conversation Starters Guide – use these questions, broken down by section of the course, to start mental health conversations with someone you’re concerned about


Value $58   

Mental health standard certification inclusion and bonuses 5


Get a Mental Health First Aider badge to add to your website, promotional materials, and other

Do you work with youth?

Learn to identify emerging issues and know the right steps to take, so the youth that you work with can get the help they need.


Meet Your Instructors

We work with a network of instructors across the country to meet your geographical, scheduling, and experience needs. 

Here are some of the facilitators available to work with your team … 

Mental health standard certification Pamela Hansen

Pamela Hansen

Mental health standard certification Jen Donovan

Jen Donovan​

Mental health standard certification Heather Beaton

Heather Beaton

Mental health standard certification Angele D’Alessio

Angele D’Alessio

Mental health certification Mylaine Tsaprailis​​

Mylaine Tsaprailis​

Mental health standard certification Lisa

Lisa Daugharty

Mental health certification Kris Porlier​ pic

Kris Porlier

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can take this course?

Participants must be at least 16 years of age and Canadian residents.

What do people need to participate?

Participants each need a strong internet connection, webcam, and microphone. Worksheets can be printed ahead of time, but are always available in their profile on the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s website.

Participants each need to have their own device – virtual training cannot be done with all participants in one boardroom or classroom, for example.

How long is the course?

The course is delivered in three modules:

Self-directed online module (approx 2 hours) Live online session with an instructor (4 hours) Live online session with an instructor (4 hours) Access to module 1 will be given two weeks prior to the first live session. Each participant must complete module 1 forward the proof they receive from the Mental Health Commission of Canada to our coordinator no later than 3 days ahead of the first live session.

Participants who do not complete module 1 in time will not be permitted to join the live portion of the course.

Can the live sessions be done in the same day?

The Mental Health Commission of Canada strongly recommends that the two live sessions take place on different days as some of the content can be mentally and emotionally taxing.

Taking time between the sessions allows participants to reflect on the content and to bring questions to the second session.

What does the live training look like?

The live section of the course includes instruction, breakout groups, scenarios, and sharing experiences. Your instructor ensures a safe space for sharing, asking questions, and discussion.

How long is my certification good for?

Upon completion of the course, you will be certified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in Mental Health First Aid – Supporting Youth. MHCC recommends recertifying every two years.

Is this training available in-person?

An in-person version of this course is available, with notable differences:

1. The in-person course is two full days of 7 hours each

2. Groups for in-person need a minimum of 12 and can have a maximum of 25

3. The in-person course is taught through a medical lens – with more emphasis put on disorders and their signs & symptoms – where the virtual course is the MHCC’s newest version that is taught through a recovery lens. This means its focus is more on connecting with a young person, opening up the lines of trust and communication, and how to guide them toward appropriate help and support. The virtual course also includes a strong focus on self-care when supporting a young person with their mental health. The MHCC is currently adapting the in-person course to be delivered through the recovery lens – it is expected to be available later in 2022.

4. While we do have instructors across Canada, if they are not local to you, their travel costs will be the client’s responsibility.

How are instructors chosen?

All of our instructors have been certified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada to deliver this course. Requirements to apply as a instructor include extensive personal and/or professional background in working with people who have mental health problems.

Each of our instructors brings their own unique life experience to their classes so please discuss any specific concerns or issues you’re currently dealing with (ie. substance use issues, eating disorders/disordered eating, suicide, etc).


Frequently Asked Questions for Teams

How many can be in a class? .

Groups need a minimum of ten people and can have a maximum of 15.

What if we have greater than 15 people? Because we work with a vast network of instructors, we can easily accommodate large teams in concurrent groups of ten to 15 participants.

Alternatively, anyone who isn’t able to join with the group can take the course on one of the open registration sessions listed on our site.

Members of your team who attend an open session will be eligible for your group rate, and can be included on your invoice

What if we have fewer than ten people?

We offer open registration courses on our website for individuals and smaller groups can participate.

What dates and times are available to book group training?

The Mental Health Commission has only one requirement regarding scheduling the live sessions – they must take place within two weeks of each other.

Within that guideline, we can accommodate any date/time combination that suits you and your team. We have instructors all across the country who are available for weekdays, evenings, weekends, or any combination thereof.

If someone misses a live session, can they make it up afterward?

The Mental Health Commission of Canada requires that participants complete both modules 2 and 3 with the same group and instructor. If a participant misses one of the live sessions, they will need to restart the course with a new group.

They will be able to register as an individual for any of the open sessions listed on our site. Your group rate will apply to their new session dates.

How does everyone get registered and what information do I need to give them?

We need only three pieces of information for each participant: name, email address, and phone number.

(Phone number will only be used in the cases that: someone is having tech difficulties joining the live session; by our coordinator as a last resort if a participants module 1 has not yet been submitted; or by our moderator if a participant suddenly leaves a live session so they can reach out and make sure they’re alright.)

If participants will not be registering with company-owned email addresses, to be compliant with the CRTC’s CASL rules, a landing page will be set up by The Expert Talk and participants will simply have to submit their name, email, and phone number to confirm their participation.

All pre-course communications will come from The Expert Talk, including reminders to complete module 1, and the zoom links for the live sessions. We also have an MHFA coordinator who is available to assist participants with accessing module 1 and to provide any other help they may need.

When is payment due?

Individual access codes are purchased from the Mental Health Commission of Canada ahead of the scheduled course and are issued to registrants two (2) weeks ahead of the first live training date. This is the “access code date”.

If the access code date is fewer than 90 days away, payment in full is due immediately to secure the dates.

If the access code date is greater than 90 days out, a deposit of 50% is due immediately and then the remaining balance is due at 60 days out.

Payments not received on or before this schedule may result in a course cancellation without refund of any deposits or expenses incurred.

What is the cancellation & refund policy?

A strict minimum of 8 registrants in attendance is required for an MHFA course to run. This includes situations where “no-shows” decrease the class attendance to below 8 persons.

Due to the class size and course requirements of MHFA, as set by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, there are no withdrawals, including “no shows”, permitted for MHFA. Full fee applies once registered.


Once on-line access to module 1 has been granted, no substitutions are permitted.

Before on-line access has been granted, a registrant may substitute their spot.

To switch registrants, a $25 + HST fee applies. New registrant must complete on-line module 1 prior to class learning.


Group bookings can be rescheduled. Written notice must be given prior to 30 days from the scheduled course (access code date). The applicable fee paid (due upfront) will be held and used for the future booking. Once access codes are issued, no reschedules are permitted.

Please note: due to class size requirements, individual registrations cannot be rescheduled.

If rescheduling does not happen before the expiry of the codes (12 months) it is the responsibility of the client to pay for the purchase of the new codes for the rescheduled date.

If one or more individuals from a group booking do not show, the fee for those individuals’ registrations is non-refundable. While The Expert Talk will send instructional and reminder emails to registrants ahead of the live sessions, it is the responsibility of the client to ensure all registrants are in attendance.

Can I write this course off on our taxes?

Per the Canada Revenue Agency, courses that maintain, upgrade, or update your existing skills or qualifications that relate to your employment can be deducted as employment expenses.

Be sure to confirm with your accountant if this course will meet your specific eligibility requirements.