Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) has been offered to the Mason community since 2014. The training provides information about the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses and a strategy for connecting with those demonstrating such indicators. MHFA training develops basic skills and does not transform participants into healthcare professionals. With the high prevalence of mental health concerns, it is important to be familiar with these signs and symptoms and willing to engage in helpful conversations to encourage those who are struggling to connect with appropriate professional care.
Participants who complete this 8-hour training earn a 3-year certification through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Open training sessions for the George Mason University community (faculty, staff, students, and alumni) are offered throughout the year. Typically, the 8-hour training is split into two 4-hour sessions.
Complete Mental Health First Aid training to learn how to help someone suffering from a mental health crisis, increase your mental health literacy, and dismantle the stigma associated with mental health and substance use challenges.
Join us for these upcoming training sessions:
October 23, 24, 25 and 26 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Register here
November 20 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Register here – The November sessions are full, but you can join a waiting list
January 9 and 10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Register here
For the October sessions, the 8-hour training will be split into four 2-hour sessions. For the November and January sessions, the 8-hour training will be split into two 4-hour sessions. You must attend both sessions to earn the three-year Mental Health First Aid certification. If you have questions, please contact Katie Clare at email@example.com.
Mason’s facilitators also run closed sessions for specific campus groups. If you would like to pursue a session for a particular group, contact Katie Clare. If you’re not a member of the Mason community, we encourage you to explore options through Fairfax County’s Community Services Board.
“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” – Glenn Close
Fall 2023 Course for Mason Students
Mason students, you can register now to learn Mental Health First Aid and earn academic credit during the last half of the fall 2023 semester in this course.:
- UNIV 372 001 CRN 75999, October 19-November 30, Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., in person on the Fairfax campus
Meet Your Facilitators
Katie Clare, trained as a facilitator in 2014, has welcomed the opportunity to bring this training to the university community. She secured this training as an elective option in the Mason Advisor Certificate program. This has led many members of Mason’s advising community to participate. She also led the effort to translate the training into the partial-term, credit-bearing course. Her goal is to create safe spaces for conversations on mental health and the ways in which stigma can get in the way. She wants participants to feel capable of seeing and helping those who may be struggling. In her work to support well-being at Mason, she’s an advocate for including psychological well-being in those larger well-being efforts.
Patrice Levinson, a Nurse Practitioner at Mason’s Student Health Services, began teaching MHFA to faculty and staff in 2014. Because mental health problems are common and most people don’t know how to help, she believes this training is vital. She believes it is especially important for college communities because mental illnesses usually develop before age 25, and this 8-hour MHFA training provides a format for discussing the stigma of mental illness and learning the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses. She also values the opportunity to teach the MHFA UNIV 370 course, as it allows students to explore their own experiences with mental health concerns with their friends, family, and themselves while earning that 1 credit that is sometimes needed for graduation.
Read a Mason news article on how MHFA training helps students. Here’s what some other participants have to say about MHFA training:
“Truly, it is the most beneficial training I have ever had the opportunity to engage in. I appreciate you both taking the time to share this knowledge with the GMU community.”
“I learned a ton of stuff to use in my job. It’s been two days and I already notice an improvement in my student interactions. I also learned things that will help me personally.”
“Overall, it’s very informative, and I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about ways to support students.”
“I think every single person that works with college students should have this training. It’s a plus for everyone.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed this class and I’m certain that the material presented will benefit me in my work at Mason and in my personal life. I wondered how it would go with two people teaching the class, but after experiencing it I have to say that it is an added bonus. You each bring your own life experiences and viewpoints which underscores the material presented.”
“I am amazed by the amount of information about mental health and mental illness that is not readily available to the public.”
“Taking this class helped me to become more accepting of my own personal struggles with mental illness. I used to think my depression and anxiety were my own fault.”
Katie Clare and Patrice Levinson, “Adapting Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training for the College Curriculum,” poster presented at Innovations in Teaching and Learning, George Mason University, September 2019.
Katie Clare and Patrice Levinson, “Mental Health in the Classroom,” workshop, Innovations in Teaching and Learning, George Mason University, September 2019.
Katie Clare and Patrice Levinson, “Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training for the College Curriculum: An Innovative Approach for Teaching Students About Mental Illnesses and Promoting Mental Health Well-Being,” poster presented at the American College Health Association Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, May 2019.
Katie Clare and Patrice Levinson, “Implementing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training for the College Curriculum: An Innovative Approach for Teaching Students About Mental Illnesses and Promoting Mental Health Well-Being,” workshop, UL Student Success Symposium, George Mason University, January 2018.