MTSU Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health Awareness Training: Become a First Aider!

MHFA in the news!    


WGNS photo

MTSU-CHHS faculty and staff appeared on WGNS Radio recently to share information about a new campus mental health training project, new sleep quality and positive aging consortiums and a special upcoming alumni event. Read the article or listen to the podcast by clicking here

 More news about CHHS-MHFA:

Middle Tennessee State University Center for Health and Human Services (CHHS) received a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement the Mental Health First Aid project on the MTSU campus to be delivered to students, staff and faculty of MTSU. Mental Health First Aid is a national evidence-based training program that teaches members of the general public how to help a person who is developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis.  Read more in the October 2018 media release.

Mental Health First Aid is intended to create a culture of mental health awareness by providing training on mental health conditions, information on mental health resources and information on services available on campus and in the community to MTSU students. CHHS began implementing Mental Health First Aid trainings to university faculty, staff, campus organizations, students, student-veterans, and student-veteran families during the first quarter of 2019 and will facilitate 44 training sessions over the next three years.


Mental Health First Aid Certification Trainings  

Become a First Aider!


MTSU-MHFA certification training is available to students, staff and faculty of MTSU.   

If you are not a student, staff or faculty member of MTSU, an off-campus class are offered periodically.  Click HERE, and follow the prompts, for more information about off campus classes or to find courses available to the public.   

Each session runs for 8 hours over either 1 day (eight hours) or 2 days (4 hours each day). If you register for a two-day class, both days are required for certification.

Session Dates

Days of week



 Check again for upcoming dates       


To register, complete this registration form, and send to   Make sure you include the dates and times of your training on the form. 

For more information contact Linda Williams, MHFA Program Coordinator, at or 615-494-8685.


Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at CHHS_MHFA!  Like, Share, Follow! 



More about the Mental Health First Aid program


  • People who enroll in Mental Health First Aid go through an 8-hour training to learn a five-step action plan to help loved ones, colleagues, neighbors and others cope with mental health or substance use problems. 
  •  Trainees also learn risk factors and warning signs of mental illness and addiction, and about available treatments. Upon completion, participants better understanding the impact mental illnesses and addictions have on a person, their family and communities.
  •  Similar to traditional First Aid and CPR, Mental Health First Aid is help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis resolves. 
  •  Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based public education and prevention tool – it improves the public’s knowledge of mental health and substance use problems and connects people with care for their mental health or substance use problems.
  • Three quantitative and one qualitative studies have shown that the program:  (1) improves people’s mental health, (2) increases understanding of mental health issues and treatments, (3) connects more people with care, and (4) reduces stigma.
  •  Mental Health First Aid was originally created in Australia in 2001 under the auspices of the University of Melbourne, and is now international with programs in countries such as the United Kingdom, China, Canada, Finland and Singapore.
  •  The National Council for Behavioral Health – a national trade group with more than 2,500 member organizations serving millions of Americans nationwide – helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the United States in 2008 with the goal of making it as common as traditional First Aid and CPR are today. 
  •  Trainees are from all walks of life and include school personnel, law enforcement, faith-based communities, hospital and nursing home staff, families and young people.

MTSU Mental Health First Aid Staff

  • MTSU MHFA Principle Investigator and Associate Director, MTSU Center for Health and Human Services (CHHS):  Cynthia Chafin, M.Ed., MCHES ® is the Principal Investigator for the Mental Health First Aid project, and serves as the  MTSU Center for Health and Human Services Associate Director for Community Programs.  Ms. Chafin has been with CHHS as a project director since 2002 and has a lengthy history in public health having worked for and with the state health department along with multiple local, state, and national non-profit and community-based organizations as a volunteer, project director, and consultant.
  •  MTSU CHHS Grant and Program Coordinator: Sarah Gwinn serves as the Grant and Program Coordinator for CHHS. She came to MTSU with a background in grant writing, grant management, and fundraising from the local nonprofit community.
  •  MTSU MHFA Program Coordinator: Linda Williams M.A. serves as the Program Coordinator for Mental Health First Aid project, joining CHHS in February 2019.  Ms. Williams previously worked in residential addiction treatment management since 2007, and with child and adolescent physical fitness from 1992-2007. She has also served as Family Program Director and trauma symptom stabilization specialist in residential treatment. Ms. Williams’ interest in public health is born out of her clinical experience with the presentation of comorbid substance abuse and mental health disorders. She is excited to be participating in evidenced-based programs that provide public mental health education.  As a True Blue Alum Mom, Ms. Williams is honored to be a part of the team at MTSU-CHHS.      
  • MTSU MHFA Program Evaluator:  Dr. Angela Bowman serves as Program Evaluator and is an Assistant Professor of Public Health and Biostatistics at Middle Tennessee State University.  Her primary professional roles include teaching statistics to the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in the Health and Human Performance Department, and serving as a consultant in the areas of statistics and psychometrics on a range of internal and external projects.  You can learn more about Dr. Bowman’s background and qualifications at the following link:
  • MTSU MHFA Project Assistant and Instuctor:   Angela Mueller serves in a dual role as Project Assistant and Mental Health First Aid Instructor.. She is a graduate student in the Professional Counseling Program studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Her personal interests, education and life experiences have given her a passion for helping others and raising awareness about mental health.
  •  MTSU MHFA Instructors: Dr. Seth Marshall, Haley Sudbury, Jamie Riccitelli 
    • Seth Marshall is an associate professor in the psychology department at MTSU. He is a teacher, practicing psychologist, and researcher. His work as a mental health first aid instructor parallels closely with his primary professional interest, that is, taking a strength-based approach to promoting mental health.,
    • Haley Sudbury is currently a graduate student in the MTSU Professional Counseling program and she is working towards achieving her Ed.S. in Professional School Counseling. As mental health issues has been prevalent in Haley's family and friend groups over the years, she has become more determined to remove the "black label" that society has placed upon mental illnesses and plans to work hard to bring mental health the awareness and attention it truly deserves.
    • Jamie Riccitelli received her Masters in Strategic Leadership from MTSU in December of 2018. She has worked in the nonprofit field for over three years and is always actively seeking opportunities to promote positive change in the lives of others and the community.


  MTSU Mental Health First Aid Advisory Board

  • Mary Kaye Anderson is the Director of MTSU Counseling & Testing Services.
  • Vickie Harden is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work. She has extensive experience in community behavioral health. Her research focus is related to rural health disparities, particularly related to mental health and addiction.
  • Lisa Schrader, MPH, CHES, is a Health Educator through MTSU Student Health Services. She provides programming and consultation to MTSU student groups on a variety of health topics. She also supervises Health Services' peer education group, and the Raider Health Corps.
  • Robin Lee is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and faculty member in the Professional Counseling program at Middle Tennessee State University, specializing in clinical mental health counseling. She serves as the Director of the MTSU Center for Counseling and Psychological Services and serves as the Professional Counseling Program Coordinator.
  • Hilary Miller is Director of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center and is an active member of the Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee State University communities. Her primary professional focus is helping military-connected students make the transition into college.
  • Dr. William Langston is a professor in the psychology department.  He also serves as Academic Advisor for MTSU Lambda Association (MTSU’s only all-inclusive LGBT+ student organization and the oldest continuously active LGBT+ student organization in Tennessee). Dr. Langston is also a Safe Zone trainer for MTSU. 
  • Additional advisory members will be invited to serve as advisory board members in the 3rd quarter of the grant year, beginning April 2019, as the grant start-up activities end and implementation begins.  A diverse group that represents the population being served will be criticial to the succcess of the project.


 Helpful Links & Resources:

 Mental Health First Aid USA

 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

 Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network

 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


 Campus Service Providers:

MTSU Counseling and Testing Center

 MTSU Center for Counseling and Psychological Services

 MTSU Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center

 MTSU Student Health Services


MTSU Mental Health First Aid Community Partners

Click HERE for a list of MHFA Community Partners

MTSU MHFA Community Partners are agencies providing mental health and/or substance abuse services who have committed to partnering with the MTSU Mental Health First Aid program by assisting students referred and collecting limited referral data for grant-related purposes. Inclusion of a community partner on this list does not constitute an endorsement by MTSU or MTSU CHHS.

 If your agency is interested in becoming a partner with MTSU Mental Health First Aid, click HERE.




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