Mental Health First Aid Training

On January 3rd and 4th I was busy attending mental health first aid training. The training is the first of its kind in the US. Started in Australia and now is being adopted in the US. So far only 8 people are qualified to teach this course in the US or maybe worldwide.

Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that  helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by three national authorities — the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Mental Health First Aid is offered in the form of an interactive 12-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Those who take the 12-hour course to certify as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. [MHFA-USA]


This training was offered to faculty and staff in my university. The objective is for faculty and staff to first learn about some of the behaviors of students with mental health problems and how to talk and interact with them. For example, not every student with multiple absents is necessary a lazy student and students suffering from trauma need some special attention.

Unfortunately, people in the US and in Jordan, but of course more in Jordan, consider a person with mental health issues to be mentally challenged. In Jordan for example any person who goes to counseling or sees a physiatrist is considered crazy, insane or retarded.

I am very fortunate that I got the chance to attend this training. I myself went through some tough depression period that required me to take some medication. Three years ago I went through some very difficult period. Not knowing what is going on with me I didn’t do anything about it. Only after I went to the university’s counseling center and with the help of the mental health center I was able to learn more about myself and return to be the normal me again. I will talk about this in detail later in a different post because I want to talk about it in relation to religion and self-help books. And also, in a more important matter, how mistakenly Muslims deal with suicide and suicidal thoughts.

The big two questions now are:

  1. When we are going to have such training for faculty and staff in Jordanian universities?
  2. Would such training put an end to the INSANE and UNEXPLAINED behaviors of our students’ continuous act of campus violence? (According to a Jordanian newspaper in 2011 there were 50 such incidents)

Crazy man talking!

In the news: The Republic


7 thoughts on “Mental Health First Aid Training

  1. Alhamdullah you got the chance to attend this! I’m sure it was beneficial!

    I’m not sure Jordan is at a point of accepting this yet. I think it’s getting better but not there.

    1. Yes, it was a mind opening. Many of the mental health problems are unknown to us, the public.
      If I may ask. Are you in Jordan yet? I would like to read your posts about Jordan 🙂

  2. Jaraad, after that great post, the main thing I took away was that you have struggled. I am so sorry for that dark time in your life, but so proud of you for getting the help you needed and even being willing to take meds for that time. And now…take the risk to talk about it. May God richly bless you, Jaraad. May God bless Jordan with more people who get the help they need.

  3. Amen and thank you, Kinzi.
    Yes, I went through some tough times. It is not over yet but Alhamdulilah God gave me the courage to be open about it my struggle. Sometimes during our agony we question things. But then later we find there is a reason for every thing. Maybe that period of my life, as much hard as it is, existed to help me be a better person and to guide me to what I always prayed for “to help fellow humans.”

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