Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a skills-based training course for RIT faculty, staff, and students who are interested in making their community healthier, happier, and safe. 

About MHFA Training

This course has 8-hours of content that can be delivered either as an in-person training or as a blended training.

Through Mental Health First Aid training, you will:

  • Learn how to describe and talk about mental health, openly and non-judgmentally.
  • Learn how to approach, reassure, and support fellow RIT community members when they are struggling with their mental health.
  • Explore what self-care looks like for you and practical applications of self-care.

As a university, RIT is dedicated to creating a more mentally well campus. Our instructors for our training sessions come from various areas across campus, including faculty and staff from:

  • National Technical Institute for the Deaf Learning Consortium
  • American Sign Language and Interpreting Education Program
  • College of Science
  • College of Engineering Technology
  • Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences
  • Saunders College of Business
  • School of Individualized Study
  • College of Health Sciences and Technology
  • Kate Gleason College of Engineering
  • Public Safety
  • Residence Life
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Health Promotion

Get Involved

Mental Health First Aid is available for RIT faculty, staff, and students. To participate in a Mental Health First Aid training session, you can either request a session for your group or register for a scheduled session listed below.

Request a session for your group

Upcoming Training Sessions

If the following training sessions do not align with your schedule, be sure to check back for more options being added throughout the Spring.


Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a skills-based training course, in which you will:

  • Learn how to describe and talk about mental health, openly and non-judgmentally
  • Learn how to approach, reassure, and support a fellow RIT community member when they may be struggling with their mental health
  • Explore what self-care looks like for you with practical applications of self-care

To participate in a Mental Health First Aid training session, you can either request a session for your group or register for a scheduled session. If you have any questions, please contact Beau Gibbs at

Training sessions can be delivered in a variety of options. You do not have to do all eight hours in one session if it does not work for you and your group’s schedule. There are two delivery options for your training session: in-person and blended.

For all in person training delivery the options include, but are not limited to: 

  • one 8-hr days
  • two 4-hr days
  • three 2.5-hr days
  • four 2-hour days
  • eight 1-hour days 

For blended (some online course work some in person training) the options include: 

  • 2.5-hrs of pre-work and then one 5.5-hour day 
  • 2.5-hrs of pre-work and then two 2hr 45 minute days.

These times do not account for breaks. The eight hours only accounts for content delivery. It is highly recommended that you schedule your training with an additional half-hour or hour for breaks. 

In order to be fully certified, you MUST attend all training sessions. If, for example, you are only able to attend two days of a three day training course, the training will not count. You will not be a certified Mental Health First Aider, and, if you wish to be certified, you will have to restart the entire process in a different session. 

The maximum number of people the training will accommodate is 30. The minimum number of people needed to host a training is 5.

Beau Gibbs, Health Promotion Specialist, will reach out to within 48 hours of the request form submission to inquire more about your request, and ensure you understand next steps. 

  • Reserving space for the training 
  • Compiling the MHFA course roster in an Excel document, and sending it to Beau Gibbs ( This roster should include the names and emails of people attending 
  • Sending completed roster to Beau Gibbs prior to the training.
    • For in-person trainings, please send the completed roster at least 1 week before your scheduled training.
    • For blended trainings, please sent the completed roster at least 2 weeks before your scheduled training. 
  • Serving as the point person for your area should any questions arise about the training

To become a "Mental Health First Aider”, you will need to complete all pre/post course and training work. Once the 8 hour course has been completed and post work has been submitted, you will be emailed a certificate of completion.

3 years. After three years you would want to consider retaking the course for update information, language, and resources available.

Please allow for 24-48 business hours for the class to appear on your Connect dashboard. Creating an account does not automatically enroll you in the class. As you will have to be manually enrolled in the class after your account creation, there may be a delay in getting access to your course. If you still are not enrolled in the class at least 3 business days after creating an account, please email Beau Gibbs at

Yes, but there are caveats. The best time to switch trainings is if you have not started the pre-work and the training session has not begun. 

However, if you have started the pre-work and the training session has not begun, you can still switch trainings, but please note that you will have to redo all of the pre-work. 

If you have completed the pre-work, and the training session has begun, you still can switch trainings, however, any progress you had made in your current session will not be saved, and you will have to restart the entire process for the new session.

Mental Health Support at RIT

Counseling and Psychological Services is aware that for many communities, there are barriers that exist related to accessing mental health services. We are committed to continuously working toward accessible, equitable, and inclusive services for our students.

Did you know that we have embedded counselors across campus to best support our RIT students in both academic and community spaces? You can meet with a counselor in a space that is convenient and familiar to you. If you or a friend is struggling, we hope you reach out.

Counseling and Psychological Services offers short-term, goal-focused individual therapy, group therapy, crisis support, and psychiatric services in an open, safe, and confidential environment.

  • To schedule an appointment, contact the office at 585-475-2261 or send a secure message on the RIT Wellness Portal and select “Counseling Services – for General Questions.”
  • If you are in need of support after business hours, you can call the 24-hour mental health line at 1-855-436-1245, or contact Public Safety by calling 585-475-3333 or texting 585-205-8333.

Workshops and Outreach Groups
In addition to direct therapeutic services, Counseling and Psychological Services offers workshops and outreach groups throughout the semester to provide additional support to RIT students. Workshops and outreach groups are not a psychotherapy service, and instead are supportive and educational opportunities for connection.

Learn more about Workshops and Outreach Groups

Case Management
RIT’s Case Management team is available to assist students in connecting with long term or specialized mental health resources in the community when needed.

  • Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988
  • Text HOME to 741741
  • Lifeline/Mobile Crisis: call 211
  • Emergency: 911