Youth Mental Health First Aid


Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is an 8-hour public education program that introduces participants—parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring individuals—to the techniques of helping an adolescent (age 12–18) who is experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge or who is in crisis.

Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling; rather, participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan.

This training includes an introduction to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents. The training builds an understanding of the importance of early intervention and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. YMHFA uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; how to select interventions and provide initial help; and how to connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.

Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

YMHFA is an 8-hour instructional course. Upon completion of the course, participants will be Youth Mental Health First Aid Certificated. A one-hour lunch break is provided (lunch on your own), as well as two 15-minute breaks. Training runs from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All instruction hours must be attended to become MHFA Certificated. A course outline is provided below.

In our area, the training is supported by Tulare County's Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) – Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Plan – Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Program. A fee is not being charged at this time for participation.

Youth Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by three national authorities: the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. To read more about Mental Health First Aid, please visit:



Upcoming Sessions and Registration

Note: Please visit the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) website at: or contact the SPTF at



Course Outline (8-hour course agenda):

Session 1

Part 1

  • What Is Youth Mental Health First Aid?
  • Adolescent Development & Mental Health Problems in Youth
  • The Mental Health First Aid Action Plan
  • Signs & Symptoms

Break (15 minutes)


Part 2

  • Risk Factors & Protective Factors
  • Using the Mental Health First Aid Action Plan
    • Assess for Risk of Suicide or Harm


Lunch (1 hour)


Session 2

Part 1

  • Using the Mental Health First Aid Action Plan
    • In Non-Crisis Situations
    • Intensive Scenario Work


Break (15 minutes)

Part 2

  • Using the Mental Health First Aid Action Plan
    • In Crisis Situations
    • Intensive Scenario Work




Please send an email to the SPTF by clicking here.