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Youth Mental Health First Aid Course

Early intervention is absolutely crucial in reducing the possible lifelong impact of mental ill-health on adolescent development, so having adults who are trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid is important.

This course is for anyone who teaches, works lives or cares for young people aged 8 - 18.

By training your staff in Youth MHFA you will:

  • Equip staff and students with the appropriate language to be able to talk about mental health and ill health in an appropriate and de-stigmatising way
  • Help your staff to feel supported and confident in their ability to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health in young people and respond appropriately
  • Enable students to access support early, limiting the impact of mental ill health on their development
  • Create a climate where those with a long-term mental health issue can receive the support they need to flourish


Course Structure

The Youth Mental Health First Aid course can de delivered online or face to face.

Online it is a blended learning course with 4 instructor-led live sessions to attend virtually as well as guided, individual learning tasks to complete online. Individual learning tasks will be based on a combination of videos, workbook activities and reading. This can be completed at your own pace in advance of each live session.

The total time commitment is around 15 hours for either delivery type.


Youth MHFA Course Structure

Our open programme of online Youth MHFA courses means that you can book onto as an individual or a small group on dates that suit you.

The live sessions are either morning or afternoon sessions and are led by one of our approved MHFA England Instructors. They are interactive, involving presentation of slides, video clips, activities, discussion and case studies, which you will explore as a group to embed learning.

You will be given a log-on to the new MHFA England Online Learning Hub and should plan to log on at least 15 minutes early on the day of your first live session. If you have any difficulties with the technology we will have someone available by phone to help you sort them out.

You need to complete activities 1 – 7 prior to the Live Session 1. Once a live session has taken place, the next set of activities you need to complete will be made available to you.

Course Content

The online Youth Mental Health First Aid course qualifies you as a Youth Mental Health First Aider, giving you:

  • An understanding of young people’s mental health and factors that affect wellbeing
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues
  • Confidence to reassure and support a young person in distress
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
  • Knowledge to help a young person recover their health by guiding them to further support
  • Ability to support a young person with a long term mental health issue or disability to thrive
  • Tools to look after your own mental wellbeing

The youth MHFA course covers the following content across 4 sessions:

Session 1 - Introduction

Individual learning (1 hour 15 minutes):

  • Introduction to the Youth Mental Health First Aid course and the Online Learning Hub
  • Activity 1: Why Youth Mental Health First Aid?
  • Activity 2: What is ALGEE? 
  • Activity 3: What is mental health?
  • Activity 4: Mental health and stigma 
  • Activity 5: Mental health quiz: Impact of mental health
  • Activity 6: Risk and protective factors for mental health 
  • Activity 7: The Stress Container 

Live session (2 hours 35 minutes):

  • Introduction to the course
  • Outline of live session 1, the value of Youth Mental Health First Aid
  • Introduce ALGEE 
  • Recap what mental health is 
  • Recap the Mental Health Continuum 
  • Stigma 
  • Recap why Youth Mental Health First Aid is important 
  • Recap risk and protective factors 
  • The Stress Container 
  • The Frame of Reference 

Session 2 - Depression, anxiety and self-care

Individual learning (1 hour 15 minutes):

  • Activity 8: Your Stress Container
  • Activity 9: Your Frame of Reference
  • Activity 10: What is depression?
  • Activity 11: What is anxiety? 

Live session (2 hours 10 minutes):

  • Introduction to live session 2
  • Recap of homework after live session 1
  • Recap depression 
  • Signs and symptoms of depression in a young person 
  • Recap anxiety 
  • Signs and symptoms of anxiety in a young person 
  • ALGEE for depression and anxiety in a young person 
  • ALGEE for depression and anxiety, action 1 
  • ALGEE for depression and anxiety, action 2-5
  • Self-care and close 

Session 3 - Suicide and psychosis

Individual learning (1 hour 20 minutes) 

  • Activity 12: Adolescent brain development
  • Activity 13: About suicide
  • Activity 14: Suicide risk factors
  • Activity 15: What is psychosis?
  • Activity 16: Lived experience of psychosis
  • Activity 17: ALGEE for psychosis
Live session (2 hours 5 minutes)
  • Introduction to live session 3
  • Recap suicide
  • Explore the impact of suicidal feelings
  • ALGEE for suicidal crisis
  • Practice non-judgemental listening skills
  • Recap psychosis
  • Recap warning signs and symptoms of psychosis
  • Recap ALGEE for psychosis

Session 4 - Self-harm, recovery and action planning

Individual learning (1 hour 35 minutes)

  • Activity 18: What is self-harm?
  • Activity 19: What are eating disorders?
  • Activity 20: Resilience
  • Workbook activity 7: My action plan for using Youth Mental Health First Aid (completed after live session) 
Live session (2 hours 25 minutes)
  • Introduction to live session 4
  • Recap self-harm, the self-harm continuum
  • Warning signs of self-harm in young people
  • ALGEE for self-harm
  • Recap eating disorders
  • ALGEE for eating disorders
  • Applying MHFA to family and carers; the Recovery Tree
  • Evaluation forms and close

It is important to recognise that this course covers material that you may find emotionally triggering. Your self-care and your safety throughout the course is very important. You should consider identifying someone who could potentially support you during or after the course if you need it.

Qualification Details

This online training will qualify you as a Youth Mental Health First Aider and you will receive a MHFA England certificate on completion of the course. There are no pre-requisites to attend but you should have a strong interest in the subject.

Q. Is there any difference between the online Youth MHFA and the face to face course?


The MHFA England, Youth Mental Health First Aid ( Youth MHFA) course is the same whether it has been delivered online or face to face. Learners will receive the same training and the same certificate regardless of the delivery method.

During the covid19 pandemic MHFA International developed online versions to ensure that the most popular MHFA courses could continue to be delivered where social distancing measures may have prevented face-to-face delivery.

Combining live, instructor led sessions with online learning, this method of online delivery has been an outright success.

Booking a Course

Our public online course dates are listed below. You can book and pay online directly or reserve your place and request an invoice.

If you would like to book a private online group course for staff at your workplace please contact us by phone on 0207 193 2608 or email: to schedule the live sessions on times and dates suitable for you.