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Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First AidMental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a certification course that CIS of Chicago offers to teach adults how to help either kids or fellow adults who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. In understanding how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of behavioral aberration or mental illnesses, we can play a powerful role in mitigating self-harm and suicide.

Let's make Mental Health First Aid training as common in our society as CPR training!

Sponsored by the National Office of Behavioral Health and SAMSHA, and fully adapted for online participation during the pandemic, MHFA provides participants hands-on practice utilizing concepts discussed in the training. Training sessions are interactive, and include group learning activities, situational case studies, and engaging discussions. Participants who complete a full MHFA course will be certified and confident: ready to “say something” when they “see something.”

Our Youth Mental Health First Aid program is designed to help adults identify, react to and support children (typically ages 8-18) experiencing mental health or addiction issues, or who are in active crisis. The course enables learners to determine the difference between “normal” adolescent behavior and what might be common mental health challenges. It also teaches participants a 5-step action plan on how to intervene. Topics covered in the course include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, disorders inclusive of psychosis indicators, disruptive behavior disorders, and eating disorders. Note that CIS of Chicago also offers a variation of the course intended to recognize and respond to mental health crises in adults.

Communities In Schools of Chicago’s Mental Health First Aid certification trainings are supported through a generous Innovation Grant from the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation and are open to school staff, parents, adult family members, and community members interested in becoming MHFA certified. By offering the course to a wide array of caring adults, CIS of Chicago aims to create a comprehensive and holistic “safety net” around the lives of children and vulnerable adults who often don’t have the resources necessary to protect themselves from harm stemming from mental health challenges.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Dates
  • Thursday, March 11 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Saturday, March 13 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Friday, April 9 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Friday, April 16 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Friday, April 30 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Saturday, May 8 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Saturday, June 12 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Saturday, July 17 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Wednesday, July 28 — FULL / CLOSED
Adult Mental Health First Aid Training Dates
  • Saturday, April 17 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Friday, May 7 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Saturday, May 22 — FULL / CLOSED
  • Thursday, June 10 — FULL / CLOSED

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Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.