Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety Professionals

Mental health challenges in our communities are at a crisis level which puts a significant strain on professionals in the public safety sector. Through the help of federal funds secured by United States Senators Markey and Warren, Anna Maria College is launching an initiative to equip the public safety community with the skills and education they need to address and manage a mental health situation. Our goal is to increase the number of instructors and individuals trained in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) across all public safety sectors, including law enforcement, fire science, paramedic medicine, corrections and dispatch. These trainings – both for new instructors and trainees – will be offered at no cost to the public safety department or agency.

We are especially looking to build a roster of MHFA trainers from the public safety sector. This will build new mental health capacities within public safety and ultimately make communities healthier and stronger. If you are a public safety professional and have a person in your department who is interested in becoming a trainer in MHFA, please let us know.

MHFA is a nationally recognized training program from the National Council on Mental Wellbeing that teaches participants about mental health and substance use. The training increases mental health literacy and reduces stigma associated with mental health. Participants learn how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders, and explore ways to defuse mental health crises. It entails a single full day, skills-focused training in both classroom and virtual environments.

To schedule a training or learn more about the program, contact the project coordinator at mhfa@annamaria.edu

An information sheet on MHFA training for public safety personnel is available at: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/population-focused-modules/public-safety/.

More Information

Read Full Press Release
Worcester Business Journal Article
Related Academic Programs
General Questions
Contact Information

Related Academic Programs

Anna Maria College offers degree programs in many related fields, including:

General Questions

Click below for information on some general questions.

What is the time commitment involved?

Mental Health First Aid training is a day-long session. To be trained as an Instructor in Mental Health First Aid, the training is four days. Because of the federal funds supporting this program, the training comes at no cost to the department or agency.

How many instructors are needed to do a training?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) recommends two instructors per training.  This allows each instructor time to prepare, take breaks, and debrief privately with trainees as needed.

What if my city or town is small?

One idea is to coordinate with another city or town across a region or county 1) to identify potential MHFA instructors and 2) to identify public safety professionals who could be certified in Mental Health First Aid.  We would recommend identifying at least two instructors who can then facilitate MHFA trainings across one region.

What is the cost to be trained as a MHFA instructor?

Typically, the cost to become a MHFA instructor is several thousand dollars between tuition and travel expenses.  This project will cover these costs.

How often do the trainings run?

We are hoping to train instructors in MHFA in quarterly cohorts.

Where will the trainings happen?

Instructors are anticipated to be trained on Anna Maria College’s campus in Paxton, MA.  Instructors will be trained by national trainers in MHFA.

What are the requirements to be an instructor?

Instructors should have a background in public safety.  Instructors teach from a national curriculum, tailor discussions to their participants, and compile a list of local resources for help.  More information on instructor trainings can be found here.  If you have other questions regarding training requirements, please email MHFA@annamaria.edu.

What are the next steps?

If you’re interested in becoming a MHFA instructor or becoming trained in MHFA, please contact the program director at MHFA@annamaria.edu

Contact Information

John Pratico, PsyD, LMHC

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Dean of Behavioral and Mental Health Programs
(508) 849-3413