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Mental Health First Aid Can Help Us All

The COVID-19 pandemic brought more than lockdowns, isolation, and severe illness – it also caused depression, anxiety, and other mental challenges in people of all ages. A study published in the National Library of Medicine found 46% of adults age 65 and older felt their mental health was negatively affected by pandemic-related worries.

Even as we navigate the “new normal,” the mental health repercussions of the pandemic persist. People need support – and learning about mental wellbeing is the first step.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a course administered by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. It teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges. You can learn how to reach out and provide help and support to someone who may be experiencing these challenges. MHFA centers around the MHFA Action Plan, a 5-step approach to deliver safe and effective support to those in need. It factors in each person’s unique identity, experiences, and challenges.

The National Council has created MHFA courses to serve various demographic groups, including adults and youth. Courses include:

  • Adult MHFA, which teaches adults how to recognize signs of mental health or substance use challenges in other adults ages 18 and older. It also shows how to offer and provide help and how to guide a person toward appropriate care if necessary. Topics include anxiety, depression, and substance use challenges. Community-specific courses are tailored to the unique needs of groups such as Spanish-speaking communities, older adults, higher education, fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals, the military, and rural communities.
  • Youth MHFA, which teaches parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12 to 18) who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge.
  • Teen MHFA, which teaches teens ages 15 to 18 how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges in their friends and peers. Teens can learn how to have supportive conversations with their friends and how to get help from a responsible and trusted adult.
  • MHFA at Work, which focuses on the work environment and teaches learners how to notice and support an individual who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge in a work environment. It also shows how to connect them with appropriate employee and community resources.

You can help us destigmatize mental health issues and prioritize mental health. Find a MHFA course near you and be the difference your community needs.

Social Security has helped Americans navigate tough times through its benefits and programs. If your mental health challenges are so severe that you’re unable to work, you may qualify for disability benefits. To learn more, please review Social Security’s Disability Benefits page.

Please share this information with friends and family who need it – and post it on social media.