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HomeTrainingMental Health First AidProgram History

Mental Health First Aid - Program History

Mental Health First Aid was developed in Australia by Betty Kitchener and Anthony Jorm in 2001. Since 2001, Mental Health First Aid has spread to 23 additional countries.

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Interested in mental health training for your organization? Let us know

Talk To Us

Interested in mental health training for your organization? Let us know
In appreciation, you’ll be automatically entered in a contest where you could win a cash prize or gift certificate. * Disclaimer: • Completion of the form is voluntary. • The information collected by the Mental Health Commission of Canada will only be used for the purpose described above.
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No purchase necessary. Open to residents of Canada age 13+ who are the intended recipient of an invitation to complete the Mental Health Commission of Canada MHFA, TWM and TWMFR / Knowledge Product] survey and participate in the contest. Starts October 3, 2022 at 12:00 a.m. ET and ends March 15, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 6 prizes available: (i) 1 x $500 CAD online retailer gift certificate prize; and (ii) 5 x $50 CAD online retailer gift certificate prizes. Limit 1 entry per person/email. Odds depend on number of eligible entries. Math skill-testing question required. Full rules and entry details

MHFA in Canada

2006: MHFA is brought to Canada by the Alberta Mental Health Board. The courses are adapted to the Canadian context and the MHFA BASIC and MHFA Adults who Interact with Youth courses are offered across the province of Alberta.

In 2010, MHFA goes national as it becomes a program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The course is updated and offered in every province and territory.

MHFA Continues to Grow in Canada


2013: The MHFA Northern Peoples version of the course is developed and made available to Canadians living in the northern territories.

2013: MHFA Canada trains its 1,000th facilitator.

2014: MHFA Canada trains its 100,000th participant, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, C.C.

2015: MHFA First Nations version is completed and first facilitators are trained.

2015: Over one million people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid worldwide

2016: MHFA Canada trains its 200,000th participant.

2016: MHFA Canada launches MHFA Seniors.

2016: MHFA Canada launches MHFA Inuit.

2016: MHFA Veterans Community adaptation launched and facilitators delivering courses.

2018: MHFA Canada trains its 300,000th participant, Dragons’ Den denizen W. Brett Wilson (watch the video here). 

2019: MHFA Canada trains its 400,000th participant.

2019 and beyond: MHFA Canada continues to grow, exploring innovative ways to deliver the course in urban and rural areas.

2020: MHFA Canada trains its 500,000th participant.

2020: MHFA Canada launches virtual training.

Next for MHFA Canada

Our Mission:
To make meaningful contributions to the wellness of Canadians through world-class mental health courses.

Our Vision:
Every Canadian is within reach of effective mental health first aid.

MHFA Resources

Several months ago, I had the opportunity to participate in Mental Health First Aid training for the first time. It was an eye-opening experience that really made me look inward and assess my outlook on mental health and what living with a mental illness entails. 

We know these past 4 months have been unusual to say the least. We have all reacted to the worldwide pandemic in our own way, doing the best we can every single day.

A lot of the time when I’m delivering mental health training, people tend to forget or overlook their mental health, because they think it doesn’t affect them.

MHFA Case Studies

Founded in 1983 in Canada, nabs is a unique charity specifically designed to support the health and well-being of all individuals in the media, marketing, and communications industry in Canada.

In 2018, Loblaw started working on being more proactive by providing store managers with the tools they need to respond to mental health crises in the workplace.

“Since the completion of the training, we are now seeing our units being more proactive in initiating discussions and understanding what community resources are available to further support our co-workers.”