WNY Rural AHEC has MHFA Certified Instructors

Rural AHEC has invested in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructor Training for its staff, because we believe that mental health is as important as physical health for our community. Visit our EVENTS page for upcoming community trainings.

For more information on courses or partnership opportunities

What is Mental Health First Aid?

  • MHFA is a 5 to 8 hour virtual, in-person or blended (hybrid) training that teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health challenges and substance use disorders. It gives First Aiders the skills and strategies they need to support someone with mental health challenges and connect them with appropriate resources.

What format is used for MHFA training?

  • Our certified trainers offer three models of MHFA:
    • Virtual – participants complete 2 hours of self-paced (online) pre-training learning, then participate in a 4.5 – 5.5 hour, instructor-led video conference
    • Blended (preferred) – participants complete 2 hours of self-paced (online) pre-training learning, then participate in a 4.5 – 6.5 hour, in-person, instructor-led class
    • In-person – participants will receive their training as an 8-hour, instructor-led in-person course.

What will Mental Health First Aiders learn:

  • Common signs and symptoms of mental illness/challenges, including
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Eating Disorders
    • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Common signs and symptoms of substance use
  • How to interact with a student in crisis
  • How to connect the person with help
  • Impacts of trauma, addiction, social media and bullying
  • Self-care/resiliency
  • How to apply the ALGEE action plan
    • Assess for risk of suicide
    • Listen nonjudgmentally
    • Give reassurance and information
    • Encourage appropriate professional help
    • Encourage self-help and other support strategies


  • Decrease mental illness and substance use stigma.
  • Gives people an Action Plan to identify and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges, including suicide.
  • Increase mental health literacy.
  • Increase confidence to provide strategies to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and knowledge of where to turn for help.
  • Offer a safe place for participants to discuss their experiences.
  • Teach participants how to assess for suicide and refer to care.


  • Teach participants to diagnose or treat mental health problems.
  • License participants as mental health professionals.
  • Prevent suicide.


  • Mental health stigma reducers.
  • Caring community members.
  • Part of a larger support system.
  • Informed helpers.
  • Resource knowledgeable.


  • Diagnosticians.
  • Treatment providers.
  • Trained interventionists.
  • Long-term care providers.

Contact us today to set up a training – we are here to support you!