If you are in distress, you can call or text 988 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

Mental Health First Aid - Police

MHFA Police is an adaptation of the MHFA course that is tailored to the needs of police. MHFA Police focuses on improving police interactions where mental health may be an issue.

Participants build the knowledge, skills, and confidence to respond effectively to someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue or crisis.

The course is intended for police services and their support staff across Canada. It is delivered through 30 minutes of online learning followed by 8 hours in-class.

Course Topics: Pre-Classroom

MHFA Police was developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in collaboration with police officers and mental health experts from across Canada. If you would like more information on training, please email solutions@openingminds.org

  • Current situation: Frequency of police interactions with those in our community living with a mental health issue
  • Challenge for Police: How to intervene to achieve positive outcomes?
  • Course aims and objectives
  • Terminology
  • Mental Health Acts by Province
  • Guiding documents
  • Self-Assessment
  • Pre-Course Survey

Course model

In the MHFA course, you will gain a solid understanding of the 6 basic actions of ALGEES:

Approach the person, assess the situation
Listen actively and communicate non-judgementally
Give support and information
Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
Encourage other supports
Self-care for the first aider

ALGEES is the framework for having a confident conversation about mental health with family, friends, colleagues and strangers.

Key outcomes

The aims of this course are to teach police how to:

  • Apply the tools to respond appropriately to a mental health crisis
  • Recognize indicators of possible mental health issues
  • Support someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue
  • Learn and integrate tools to maintain personal wellness as part of responding to a mental health issue or crisis.
Community policing - a female police officer is conversing with a boy and his sister, sitting side by side on steps outside a building, laughing. The policewoman is African-American, in her 40s. The children are 8 and 7 years old, mixed race African-American and Caucasian. | Police communautaire - une policière discute avec un garçon et sa sœur, assis côte à côte sur les marches à l'extérieur d'un immeuble, en riant. La policière est afro-américaine d’une quarantaine d’années. Les enfants sont âgés de 8 et 7 ans, métis afro-américains et caucasiens.

Crisis first aid skills learned

  • Panic attack
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Psychotic episode
  • Non-suicidal self-injury
  • After a traumatic event

Course sections

1. Introduction

  • Mental health in Canada and implications for police
  • Value of MHFA for Police
  • Current strategies

2. ALGEES Action

  • Application of ALGEES to police scenarios
  • Possible challenges
  • Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours for using ALGEES effectively

3. ALGEES in Action

  • Application of ALGEES to police scenarios
  • Possible challenges
  • Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours for using ALGEES effectively
Happy cop agent smiling while on patrol in the police car on the street and enjoying law enforcement | Agent de police heureux souriant lors d'une patrouille dans la voiture de police dans la rue et profitant des forces de l'ordre

4. Crisis Situations

  • Suicide
  • Non-Suicidal Self-Injury
  • Severe Psychotic States
  • Panic Attack
  • Reaction to Trauma

5. Next Steps

  • Identify 5 things you will take away from this course
  • Create an action plan to implement 3 things you will do to apply what you learned

We want to hear from you! Use the hashtag #MHFA to keep the conversation going.


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