teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) is a training program for teens brought to the United States by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and managed in Missouri by Missouri’s Department of Mental Health. It teaches teens in grades 10-12, or ages 15-18, how to identify, understand and respond to signs of a mental health or substance use challenge in their friends and peers. The training gives teens the skills to have supportive conversations with their friends and teaches them how to get help from a responsible and trusted adult.
There are three ways to teach and learn tMHFA.
- In-person – Lessons are conducted in person in six 45-minute sessions or three 90-minute sessions.
- Blended – Teens complete a self-paced online lesson, then participate in six live, Instructor-led sessions. These Instructor-led sessions can be:
- Video conferences.
- In-person classes.
READY TO BRING tMHFA TO YOUR COMMUNITY?
Become a tMHFA Site
Any school, youth-serving organization or organization in partnership with a school that wants to bring tMHFA training to teens at their site can apply to become a tMHFA Site. Schools and organizations must be accepted to teach tMHFA.
If you are interested in bringing tMHFA to teens in your community, complete this interest form to get started.
Key Implementation Requirements
- The course must be taught to an entire grade level of students.
- Sites must have 10% of staff trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid, in order to increase the capacity of staff to respond to a student who reaches out.
- The site must have a safety protocol in place to ensure youth safety, including having a mental health professional on site.
- The course should be taught in classes of approximately five to 30 teens on non-consecutive days. The program cannot be taught in large, assembly-style sessions.
Become a tMHFA Instructor
Instructors are on the frontlines of the program, training teens in their communities how to assess, respond and bring in a trusted adult if a peer seems to be having a mental health or substance use challenge. Instructors teach from a national curriculum, tailor discussions to their participants and compile a list of local resources for help.
Adults who teach the tMHFA program to teens must attend a tMHFA Instructor training to be certified in the curriculum.
If you are interested in becoming an independent instructor, please email email@example.com to let us know and we’ll provide you with next steps.
Bring tMHFA to Your Community
Parents, guardians and caregivers are encouraged to help bring tMHFA to their community and young people. Use these resources to advocate for tMHFA at your teens’ school or youth-serving organization:
Individual School or Youth-serving Organization
tMHFA Instructor training
- 3-day tMHFA Instructor training
- 1-day optional training for the blended certification
- Instructor Materials
School District or Enterprise/Large Organization (purchasing and coordinating for multiple schools or sites)
Private Instructor Training Bundle: Instructor training for up to 16 Instructor candidates
- Private 3-day tMHFA Instructor training for up to 16 participants
- 1-day optional training for Blended certification
Individual Schools or Youth-serving Organizations of any size
Manuals are purchased directly from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing by approved sites.
- 125 manual bundle
- Per manual
Interested but don’t have the funds? Scholarships are available for both instructor training fees and manuals through Missouri’s Department of Mental Health. Fill out the Interest Form and additional information about scholarships will be provided during the application process.
- tMHFA One-page Overview: Facts, figures and details about tMHFA.
- tMHFA Brochure: Tips and resources to help you bring tMHFA to your school or youth-serving organization.
- tMHFA FAQs: Answers to frequently asked questions about tMHFA.
- Self-care Tips for Teens During COVID-19: A toolkit to help teens take care of their mental health during COVID-19.