Be the First to Make a Difference

Mental Health First Aid USA has launched Be the Difference, a new campaign to encourage people to learn the skills to help people experiencing a mental health or substance abuse challenge.

“Anyone, anywhere can be the one to make a difference in the life of someone with a mental health or substance abuse challenge – if they know what to do and what to say,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “The difference between someone contemplating suicide and one who goes through with the act could be a friend, teacher, coach or parent who knows what to look for and how to engage people in open conversation. Those are the skills learned in Mental Health First Aid.”

Organizations and interested parties can find out how to get involved in the campaign by visiting

Blog posts, infographics, merchandise and more are available to help support and bring visibility to this national movement.

Response to the Be the Difference initiative has been overwhelming. Already, more than 400 individuals and organizations have pledged their support to the campaign. “Mental Health First Aid teaches people that it’s okay to talk about mental health issues,” Rosenberg said. “It is our goal that by 2020, Mental Health First Aid will be as common as CPR and traditional first aid.”

Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour in-person training designed for anyone to learn about mental illness and addiction, including risk factors and warning signs. Participants learn a five-step action plan to help people who are living with a mental health challenge or experiencing a crisis. Recently, Mental Health First Aid celebrated the training of 1 million First Aiders.

The certificates have already helped hundreds of organizations in myriad ways.

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