English Spanish

Mental Health First Aid

NOTICE: We are proud to announce that Community Foundation Tampa Bay and partners have now trained more than 1,700 people in Mental Health First Aid since January 2021.  In an effort to improve the delivery of this initiative, the Mental Health First Aid program offered through St. Petersburg College has been paused effective September 1, 2022 and continuing through the end of the year.  During this time we encourage you to connect with other community organizations that offer Mental Health First Aid training including BayCare and Directions For Living.


The Community Foundation Tampa Bay, in partnership with Love IV Lawrence, St. Petersburg College, Humana, and the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, has launched the Mental Health First Aid Initiative to:

  • Provide viable skills to address mental health challenges
  • Raise awareness of the prevalence of mental health issues in the community
  • Reduce the stigma


Train and empower 5,000 key personnel in nonprofits, faith communities and other community settings to identify, understand and respond to signs of addictions and mental illness within the next three years.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Think of Mental Health First Aid as the CPR of mental health. It is a national certification through the National Council for Behavioral Health that is proven to be effective. Peer-reviewed studies show that individuals trained in the program:

  • Grow knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions.
  • Can identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction.
  • Increase their confidence in and likelihood to help an individual in distress.
  • Show increased mental wellness themselves.

Why is it needed?

Even before the pandemic and social unrest of 2020, we knew that mental illness was a serious issue in our community and all communities. Pre-2020 research shows that 1-in-6 adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness within a given year.A study released by the CDC in August 2020 found that 40 percent of U.S. adults (2 in every 5) are struggling with at least one serious mental health issue during the pandemic.

Those experiencing mental health conditions can be further impacted by stigma, which is caused by fear and a lack of understanding. It can lead to harassment, bullying, violence and discrimination, which can cause isolation, shame, and prevention of treatment for those experiencing mental illness.

Who can use Mental Health First Aid?

Anyone! Mental Health First Aid training is similar to CPR training. It helps people identify, understand and respond to someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge.

How does one become certified?

Mental Health First Aid certification is about an 8-hour training course. In the virtual training, participants complete a self-paced introduction to the material that takes about two hours. The real-time online instruction, with between 10 and 30 people in the course, takes five to six hours in one day.

What does it cost?

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay is providing the training to those who work in nonprofit organizations, faith communities and educational settings free of charge. The general public or businesses may access the training for a fee of $125 per person.

Want to learn Mental Health First Aid? Register online today.

For nonprofits, faith organizations and educators*
Use discount code: MHFA
For businesses and individuals


Skip to content