Ohio State Launches University-Wide Mental Health First Aid Initiative

Mental Health Awareness Month Banner
May 19, 2021

Setting the Stage with Mental Health – a Response for Campuses during the COVID-19 Pandemic


What is MHFA?

Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. Mental Health First Aiders are teachers, first responders and veterans. They’re neighbors, parents and friends. They’re people in recovery, and those supporting a loved one. Mental Health First Aiders are anyone who wants to make their community healthier, happier and safer for all.


What does training entail?

  • In January 2021, 15 faculty and staff at Ohio State University were trained to become instructors for MHFA.
  • 8 hours of virtual pre-work (watching recordings of live trainings)
  • 3 days of facilitator-led training where we learned more about how to lead workshops
  • Presenting on a topic provided to the participant
  • Once passed, earn certificate


How was it funded?

  • It was funded through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Ohio State applied for the grant and received the necessary funds to train 15 individuals to deliver the curriculum on campus to faculty, staff and students.  


What are the goals?

  • Deliver MHFA at Ohio State to faculty, staff and students, so they in turn can 
    • recognize signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions.
    • Identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction
    • help an individual in distress.


Who is the target audience?

  • Faculty, staff and students at Ohio State


What outcomes are we hoping to achieve?

  • Decrease stigma of mental health
  • Raise awareness of mental health resources on campus for faculty, staff and students
  • recognize signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions
  • Help an individual in distress
  • Lower stress, anxiety and depression rates among faculty, staff and students


What are next steps?

  • Planning virtual trainings for campus community beginning early spring 2021
  • Track population health outcomes
  • Evaluate efforts and impact for quality improvement