Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate treatment is found or until the crisis is resolved.
The MHFA Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague.
The program does not teach people how to be therapists. It does teach people how to:
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems.
- Provide initial help.
- Guide a person towards appropriate professional help.
MHFA shares the same overall purpose as traditional first aid. It aims to:
- Preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or others.
- Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from developing into a more serious state.
- Promote the recovery of good mental health.
- Provide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problem.
Source: Mental Health First Aid Canada