A photo of a group of youth with their backs to the camera.
Mental Health First Aid Logo in solid white

I believe every single person can benefit from it, in the same way that the general public can benefit from knowing CPR.

— MHFA Trainer

About our FREE Training

Learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies to help someone in crisis, and where to turn for help.

General Info

We offer several one-day MHFA classes per year that are open to the public. Each MHFA class runs from approximately 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. All materials are provided. Lunch is on your own unless otherwise specified.

On-Site Classes

We can also come to YOUR organization to provide group training! Just fill out this Training Request Form or contact Julie Helmer at (269) 364-6950 or jhelmer@iskzoo.org.


We want everyone to be able to fully participate in training. We can arrange for wheelchair access, visual or hearing assistance, etc. To ensure we can meet your needs, please contact Julie Helmer at least two weeks before the scheduled training at (269) 364-6950 or jhelmer@iskzoo.org.

Class Schedule

A group of adults with their arms over each others shoulders, smiling at the camera


No community classes are currently scheduled. Watch this space for upcoming class information.






Questions? Contact Julie Helmer at (269) 364-6950 or jhelmer@iskzoo.org.

A group of youth sitting on the wall hanging out with each other


Click on the date to register!


Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021

(In Person at ISK, 418 W. Kalamazoo Ave.)

8:30 A.M. to 5 P.M.


Questions? Contact Rebecca Wilson at (269) 553-7022 or rwilson@iskzoo.org.


After registering, you will receive:

  1. Access to a required two-hour self-study program from MHFA to complete at least three days BEFORE the virtual Zoom class.
  2. The Zoom link for the class, which will be sent to you separately.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help offered to a person who may be developing a mental health challenge or is in a mental health crisis. MHFA is an international, evidence-based program that teaches people to identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.

ISK is proud to offer MHFA training to community members at no charge, thanks to funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).

In this course you’ll learn:

  • The prevalence of mental health issues and the need to reduce stigma
  • The importance of early intervention on mental health challenges.
  • How to apply the appropriate steps of the MHFA Action Plan (ALGEE).
  • How to identify and assist with early signs and worsening signs of mental health challenges
  • How to identify and assist with a mental health crisis
  • The importance of self-care as we become Mental Health First Aiders

Watch our video to hear what MHFA means to ISK trainers and participants.

MHFA Class Options (All Free)


Mental Health First Aid for Adults teaches people how to recognize signs of mental health or substance use challenges in adults ages 18 and older, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate care if necessary. Learn More »


Designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. Learn how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Learn More »


Designed for military members, veterans, their families/friends and those who work with them, this training focuses on military culture and risk factors faced by service members and their families. Learn how to break down stigma, reach out to those who are reluctant to seek help and access community resources for support. Learn More »


Focuses on the unique experiences and needs of college students, campus culture, and risk factors faced by those in a higher education setting. A great option for students (must be at least 18), faculty, administrators, resident advisors, coaches, and athletic personnel, campus law enforcement, academic advisors, counselors, campus clergy, librarians, and more. Learn More »

A photo of two women working out of a book together in a Mental Health First Aid training class.
A class room with a teacher up front pointing to a screen teaching Mental Health Frist Aid

Who Can Benefit from MHFA?

Two young college students sitting on stairs talking to each other.
  • Friends & family of people with mental illness or substance use disorders
  • General public
  • Primary care workers
  • School and college leadership
  • Students
  • Faith communities
  • Professional associations
  • Parent organizations
  • Social & Rotary clubs
  • Community leaders
  • Businesses
  • Police officers and first-responders
  • Veterans/Military Members and Their Families

I would say I use the training daily. I can apply it to coworkers, friendships, family, and interactions with people, and that’s really what Mental Health First Aid helps you do is interact with people.

–MHFA Participant

How Did MHFA Start?

Mental Health First Aid originated in Australia in 2001 and is now international, with programs in countries such as the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Finland, Singapore, and the U.S.  The National Council for Behavioral Health brought Mental Health First Aid to the United States in 2008.

The Council hopes MHFA will become as common as CPR and FIrst Aid training.  Several studies have shown that the evidence-based program:

> Improves people’s mental health

> Increases understanding of mental health issues and treatments

> Connects more people with care

> Reduces stigma

Local Organizations ISK Has Trained

A Group photo of nursing students from Kalamazoo Valley Community College, after taking the Adult Mental Health First training. Everyone in the photo is wearing Look Beyond t-shirts.
Cheff Center mental health first aid training
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo

  • Bronson Methodist Hospital

  • Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center

  • Guardian Finance & Advocacy Services

  • Gull Lake Community Schools

  • Kalamazoo College

  • Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department

  • Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home

  • Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety

  • Kalamazoo Public Library

  • Kalamazoo Valley Community College

  • Paramount Charter Academy

  • Recovery Institute of Southwest Michigan

  • Western Michigan University

  • Vicksburg Schools

  • Veteran/Military Organizations

And many more!

We can also come to YOUR organization to provide FREE group training!

Just fill out this Training Request Form or contact Julie Helmer at (269) 364-6950 or jhelmer@iskzoo.org.