When someone’s in distress, a quick and compassionate response is just as important for mental health as it is physical health. Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to help people who may be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.

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Since 2017, Michigan State University Extension has been offering Mental Health First Aid training to both its own staff and external organizations. Mental Health First Aid is evidence-based training that teaches participants how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health crisis and help someone who may be experiencing one. Grounded in messages of hope and recovery, this program helps break down the misinformation surrounding mental health and helps trainees understand how they can play a role in the “first response” to mental health issues. Trainees are taught how to use a five-step action plan (ALGEE) to help someone experiencing a mental health issue, and connect them to the care and resources they need to recover:Hands making a heart

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

As of 2019, around 70% of MSU Extension staff are trained in Mental Health First Aid.

Currently, this training is available as: 

  • Mental Health First Aid for adults
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid, which prepares trainees to help children ages 12-18 who may be developing or experiencing a mental health challenge

Our Impact


people trained by MSU Extension in Mental Health First Aid since 2017


of participants say they can better recognize signs of a mental health crisis

1 in 5

adults live with a mental illness