Mental Health First Aid Training

Student Health and Counseling Services is offering training in Mental Health First Aid. The course may be taken in one full-day intensive training or two half-day training formats. The course is open to faculty, staff and students.

About Mental Health First Aid US:
Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The program is offered in the form of an interactive 8-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the United States and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Those who take the 8-hour course to certify as Mental Health First Aiders learn a five-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources, and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. 

The course was developed in Australia where it developed a strong evidence base to show that it can increase the help provided to others, increase connections to professional help, lessen stigmatizing attitudes and decrease social distance from people with mental disorders.

The course was developed for adults wishing to have an introduction to mental health and substance use concerns.  The course teaches an intervention suitable for individual interactions and situations.  Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Mental Health First Aid in the News:

October 10, 2011 | Morning Edition | by Kelly Weiss
Mental First Aid: How To Help In An Emotional Crisis

October 18, 2011 | Talk of the Nation | by Neal Conan
Mental Health First Aid in the Workplace

January 23, 2011 | by Michael Winerip
Positives With Roots In Tragedy On Campus

October 18, 2011 | For Your Health
January 18, 2011 | by Rachel SaslowSparksInterest in ‘Mental Health First Aid' Courses
March 12, 2012 | by Kim Painter
Classes Teach ‘First Aid' for Mental Health Crises

MHFA Instructors:
Cheryl Berry, M.A.
Mental Health Educator

Carlene Smith, Ph.D.
Psychologist PSY13047

Student Health and Counseling Services
California State University San Marcos
San Marcos, California 92096-0001
tel: 760.750.4910
fax: 760.750.3181

Participants who complete the eight-hour training will receive a nationally recognized certificate of training. To register, please submit date and time (full or two half-days) request:
Carlene Smith at

Fall 2013 Training Schedule
October 25 Complete training (full day)
Part 1 (morning only)
October 26 Part 2 (morning only)
November 1 Complete training (full day)
Part 1 (morning only)
November 2 Part 2 (morning only)
November 15 Complete training (full day)
Part 1 (morning only)
November 16 Part 2 (morning only)
December 6 Complete training (full day)
Part 1 (morning only)
December 7 Part 2 (morning only)

Complete, full-day training sessions run from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (inclusive of breaks and lunch). Half-day sessions run from 8:30 am to 1pm.

Training Topics

  • Overview of mental health problems
  • Depressive/Mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Disorders in which psychosis occurs
  • Substance use disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Mental Health First Aid for crisis situations