If you are in distress, you can text WELLNESS to 741741 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

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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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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

Mental health is a vital aspect of your overall health. As you grow older, you can experience changes in your physical health, social connections, and daily routines that can significantly affect your quality of life, your mood and well-being. 

Stigma leads me to write this under a pseudonym. Why? Because my child is kind, caring, generous and resilient, among many other great qualities.

Recent events have highlighted the need for change in how we do business, manage operations, and provide psychological safe space for the workforce. What we perceived as “working” before, it would seem, is no longer working.

MHFA Case Studies

In Saskatchewan, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) education is a shared responsibility between the Ministry of Education, under the authority of the Minister of Education, and locally elected boards of education. There are 27 school divisions in Saskatchewan, including public school divisions, separate school divisions, and the francophone school division.

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.