The Mental Health Commission of Canada reports that one in every five Canadians experiences a mental health or substance use problem within a given year. While people often know a lot about physical illness, most people have less knowledge about mental health or substance use problems.

Mental Health First Aid Standard (Virtual) and Mental Health First Aid Standard (Face to Face) are both 9-hour courses. Both open with a self-directed Module 1 (completed virtually) that focuses on the information and strategies that participants will discuss and practice throughout the classroom Modules 2 and 3. Modules 2 and 3 can be delivered either in a virtual or face to face format. You choose which format is best for your group.

Participants of Mental Health First Aid Standard will learn how to:

  • Recognize signs that a person may be experiencing a decline in their mental well-being or a mental health or substance use crisis
  • Have conversations that encourage a person to:
    • Talk about their mental well-being
    • Discuss professional and other supports that could help with recovery to improved mental well-being
    • Reach out to these supports
  • Assist in a mental health or substance use crisis situation
  • Check in with one’s own mental well-being and take action as needed

Mental Health First Aid Standard topics include:

  • Module 1: Self-Directed (Virtual)
    • Introduction to the course
    • Introduction to MHFA actions
  • Module 2: Virtual or Face to Face Classroom
    • Practice applying MHFA actions to situations of declining mental well-being
    • Guidelines for MHFA conversations with people from diverse cultures and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community
  • Module 3 Virtual or Face to Face Classroom
    • Discussion on using MHFA actions for self-care
    • Practice using MHFA actions in crisis situations

MHFA Standard (Virtual) Course Outline

MHFA Standrd (Face to Face) Course Outline

MHFA Virtual Courses – Terms and Conditions

MHFA SAFETY and Safe space during the course

Email Cliff 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 2023

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