The course is taught to police, first responders, corrections officers, and other public safety audiences around the country. Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety provides officers with more response options to help them deescalate incidents and better understand mental illnesses so they can respond to mental health related calls appropriately without compromising safety. Approximately 20,000 public safety professionals have taken the course, including at police academies in Philadelphia, DC, Seattle, and numerous smaller and rural departments.

Mental Health First Aid assists in:

  1. Defusing crises
  2. Promoting mental health literacy
  3. Combating stigma of mental illness
  4. Enabling early intervention through recognition of signs and symptoms
  5. Connecting people to care


Mental Health First Aid for public safety

What is the difference between the 8 hour Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety Program and the 40 hour Crisis Intervention Team [CIT] Training?

CIT training is an excellent in-depth program that enjoys widespread adoption across the country, but not every department has the resources to train all officers or staff in the CIT program, nor is every officer or staff member ready for this intensive certification.  The goal of most departments is to have at least 25% of their force CIT Certified.

Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety is a good compliment to CIT training – a one day course for the 75% of officers or staff who are not yet CIT certified or may never be. Also, some police departments use Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety as a complement to their CIT program, training newer officers and those who express interest in joining the CIT team in Mental Health First Aid as a first step.

Individuals trained in Mental Health First Aid can help:

Overall, more than 20,000 Police Officers, Corrections Officers, and other Public Safety Staff have taken the course across the country.
A few specific organizations with particularly comprehensive programs:

·    State of Rhode Island Police Training Academy: Cadet elective

·    Washington, DC Police Academy: Cadet requirement

·    City of Philadelphia Police Academy: Officer elective

·    City of Philadelphia Fire and Rescue Academy: Staff elective

·    City of Philadelphia Department of Probation and Parole: all staff requirement (400 staff)

·    Pennsylvania Department of Corrections: all staff requirement (16,000 staff)

·    Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center – Seattle – Officer elective

WHO can be a mental health first aider?

  • Law enforcement
  • Corrections officers
  • Other first responders
  • 911 Dispatch Staff​

“Public Safety Officers, regardless of rank or position, may find themselves confronted with a mental health crisis.

My Mental Health First Aid training helped me save a life, and regular incidents serve as reminders

of how public safety officers fall back on their training

in times of crisis.”

- Captain Joseph Coffey, Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy Mental Health First Aid National Trainer