The MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID (MHFA) BASIC certification course that Cliff taught was full of extremely beneficial knowledge that should be made more widely available to people of all walks of life to learn the skills needed to address mental health issues as they arise. Cliff is clearly passionate about this subject and he has lots of first hand experience helping people in crisis, which made the material more relatable. Cliff is a positive example of a genuinely caring, highly knowledgable and proactive support person. I highly recommend taking the MHFA BASIC course with Cliff and would consider this another vital tool to add to your own ‘life-management tool-kit’.

C. Prins – Nutritionist

One in three Canadians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. The earlier a problem is detected and treated, the better the outcome. 

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Mental Health First Aid Canada is an evidence based program of The Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate treatment is found or until the crisis is resolved.

MHFA training teaches people how to:

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems.
  • Provide initial help.
  • Guide a person towards appropriate professional help.

As a Mental Health First Aid Canada Facilitator and Instructor, I can provide you and your organization with a 12-hour, in-person,  MHFA BASIC course focused on adults interacting with adults in all environments. The course discusses the following mental disorders:

  • Substance related disorders
  • Mood related disorders
  • Anxiety and trauma related disorders
  • Psychotic disorders

Crisis first aid skills for the following situations are learned:

  • Substance overdose
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Panic attack
  • Acute stress reaction
  • Psychotic episode

MHFA Basic Course Outline

Who should take a MHFA BASIC course?

Anyone can benefit from MHFA BASIC training. Families affected by mental health problems, teachers, health service providers, emergency workers, frontline workers who deal with the public, volunteers, human resources professionals, employers, and community groups are some of the groups who have benefited from MHFA BASIC training.

I provide MHFA Basic for organizations that request a private training. 

Email Cliff at to schedule a training for your organization.

If you are experiencing a mental health EMERGENCY or CRISIS,

  • call 911, go to the nearest emergency room or follow the emergency instructions provided by your doctor, mental health professional or care team. If your community has a mental health car, you can call 911 to request it.
  • call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) to get help right away, any time of day or night. It’s a free call.

If you are in distress,

  • call 310-6789 (do not add 604, 778 or 250 before the number) 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through 310-6789 have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.

For children and youth aged 5 to 20,

  • call Kid’s Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 to speak to a professional counsellor, 24 hours a day. It’s free, confidential, anonymous and available across Canada. They can also refer you to local services and resources. Kid’s Help Phone is available in English and French.

In a mental health NON-EMERGENCY,

  • visit for info sheets and personal stories about mental illnesses.
  • call 811 or visit to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms you’re worried about, or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.
  • call BC Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service at 1-800-663-1441 (or 604-660-9382 in Greater Vancouver) to talk to someone about substance use. They can also connect you with local substance use resources. It’s available 24 hours a day.

©Cliff Thorbes 2022

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