ADULT MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID 2017 Instructor Application
Thank you for your interest in becoming an Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor.
Questions? Call (215) 685-3755 or Email

Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) is leading a widespread implementation of Mental Health First Aid in Philadelphia. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a groundbreaking public education and early intervention program that teaches community members how to recognize and assist a person experiencing a behavioral health challenge or crisis. Before you provide some information about yourself, we want to make sure you know what becoming a MHFA Instructor involves.

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Overview: Becoming a Mental Health First Aid Instructor
Becoming a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructor is an exciting opportunity and we at Philadelphia MHFA are thrilled that you or your designee is considering this opportunity. Being a successful MHFA Instructor is highly rewarding. However, this role also requires a serious commitment of time, energy and creativity. Before applying to become a certified instructor, we want to make sure that you fully understand what will be necessary for certification as well as long term success as a MHFA instructor.

Instructor Candidates must submit a resume and 2 letters of reference to Shemiah Cooper via email ( or fax (215-685-4986) to finalize their application. Applications submitted without these will be considered incomplete.

Who should apply to become an instructor?
A Mental Health First Aid instructor is required to serve as a presenter, facilitator, and most importantly an ambassador of the MHFA USA program. There are several key components that make an instructor successful. First and foremost, it is required that an instructor candidate:
*Has a current certification in either Adult or Youth Mental Health
First Aid
*Has general knowledge of mental health and substance
use issues (i.e. is a mental health/substance use
professional, has worked with individuals experiencing
mental health disorders or is in recovery from mental illness
or substance use challenges)
*Has experience teaching groups of adults
*Understands best practices in adult learning
*Has experience facilitating groups
*Must exhibit positive attitudes towards individuals
with mental illnesses and should have enthusiasm to
reduce the stigma/discrimination associated with mental
illness and addiction disorders, as this is an aim of MHFA
and the curriculum is specifically designed to promote recovery

While the instructor training reinforces some of the skills and knowledge areas above, it is not designed as a substitute for prior knowledge and experience.

Second, instructors must identify operational support to schedule and run their classes. Here in Philadelphia, we strongly suggest that candidates demonstrate appropriate external support such as their employer organization or a partner community organization in order to accomplish the necessary goals of an instructor.

Philadelphia has a unique process in place where as, many of the instructor tasks are supported by the Mental Health First Aid Unit of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.
*Planning (e.g., creating business plans, forming
community partnerships, outreach)
*Setting course schedules
*Marketing and media outreach
*Course registration
*Event planning (e.g., catering, logistics)
*Seeking grants and other sources of fiscal support
*Collecting and entering course evaluations and
incorporating feedback

Finally, instructors who are certified as part of Philadelphia’s MHFA Initiative are not to charge for the trainings conducted in Philadelphia in partnership with DBHIDS. ALL individuals, who live, work or study in the City of Philadelphia, are entitled to FREE MHFA trainings. Also, Philadelphia MHFA Instructors are expected to participate in program evaluations conducted by Drexel University’s School of Public Health, which may include surveys and/or interviews.

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