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Program History

Program History

The origin and expansion of MHFA

Mental Health First Aid was developed in Australia by Betty Kitchener and Anthony Jorm in 2001. Since 2001, Mental Health First Aid has spread to 23 additional countries.

MHFA in Canada

2006: MHFA is brought to Canada by the Alberta Mental Health Board. The courses are adapted to the Canadian context and the MHFA BASIC and MHFA Adults who Interact with Youth courses are offered across the province of Alberta.

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In 2010, MHFA goes national as it becomes a program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The course is updated and offered in every province and territory.

MHFA Continues to Grow in Canada


2013: The MHFA Northern Peoples version of the course is developed and made available to Canadians living in the northern territories.

2013: MHFA Canada trains its 1,000th instructor.

2014: MHFA Canada trains its 100,000th participant, Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, C.C.

2015: MHFA First Nations version is completed and first instructors are trained.

2015: Over one million people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid worldwide

2016: MHFA Canada trains its 200,000th participant.

2016: MHFA Canada launches MHFA Seniors.

2016: MHFA Canada launches MHFA Inuit.

2016: MHFA Veterans Community adaptation launched and instructors delivering courses.

2018: MHFA Canada trains its 300,000th participant, Dragons' Den denizen W. Brett Wilson. 

2018 and beyond: MHFA Canada continues to grow, exploring innovative ways to deliver the course in urban and rural areas.

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Next for MHFA Canada

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Our Mission: 
To make meaningful contributions to the wellness of Canadians through world-class mental health courses.

Our Vision: 
Every Canadian is within reach of effective mental health first aid.