Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

This learning program is a public education program that introduces learners to the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and provides an overview of appropriate support. This program uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect people to the appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care. Additionally, it teaches common risk factors and warning signs of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

In November 2015, New York City first lady Chirlane McCray launched ThriveNYC, a decisive turning point in the way New York City approaches mental health and substance misuse. ThriveNYC is a roadmap designed to begin changing the way people think about mental health and the way City government and its many partners deliver services. With 54 initiatives backed by an $850 million investment over four years, it is the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation.

Through ThriveNYC, 250,000 New Yorkers will be trained in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). The Workforce Institute has been tasked with training 3600 of these learners. MHFA educates people on how to help friends, family members and co-workers who may be suffering from a mental health condition. It also helps to reduce biases against mental illness and allows people to engage with mental health issues more comfortably.


Who Should Attend?

Direct service staff and supervisors working in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice.


Course Benefits

Learners will:

  • Learn a five-step action plan, ALGEE, to support someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or experiencing an emotional crisis:
    • Assess for risk of suicide or harm.
    • Listen non-judgmentally.
    • Give reassurance and information.
    • Encourage appropriate professional help.
    • Encourage self-help and other support strategies.


Course Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.


Course Components

Once enrolled in the course, learners will complete a one-day, instructor-led workshop.

Completion of all components is necessary to receive a Certificate of Completion.


Continuing Education Units

There are no CEUs associated with this course.



Register for this course by logging in to Cornerstone, browse for the course name and complete all information.  For more information about the ACS Workforce Institute, please contact the Help Desk at or call (212) 748-1898.