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Mental Health First Aid for Partners and Families

What if rendering help to others in a mental health crisis was as widely accepted as giving CPR to someone in cardiac arrest or doing the Heimlich maneuver when someone is choking?

Mental Health First Aid USA envisions that what they call “Mental Health First Aid” will become as common as CPR and first aid training during the next decade.

According to their website, through their 12-hour course, participants learn:

  • The potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury
  • An understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma in their communities
  • A 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess the situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions, and to help the individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional care
  • The evidence-based professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem.

The purpose of the training is not for the learner to serve a substitute for seeing a trained mental health professional; like rendering CPR on a cardiac arrest victim until the paramedics arrive, people trained in mental first aid can assist someone in a crisis until a trained professional can take over.

As the partner of someone with mental illness, this training can prepare you to deal with various types of challenges and crises your partner may face. The course will teach you strategies to assess the severity of what’s going on with your partner, and determine the best course of action.

Click here to learn more or find a course near you.


Mental Health First Aid for Partners and Families

Kate Thieda

Kate Thieda, MS, LPCA, NCC, is a patient advocate for Women's and Children's Services at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. She is a licensed professional counselor associate and a National Certified Counselor who specializes in cognitive-behavioral and dialectical behavior therapies. Her book, Loving Someone With Anxiety, will be published by New Harbinger in the spring of 2013.

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APA Reference
Thieda, K. (2011). Mental Health First Aid for Partners and Families. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 6, 2019, from


Last updated: 10 Oct 2011
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