Adult Mental Health First Aid Programs Available This Fall

August 16, 2022, 10:16 am | David Brown, Demi Johnson

Woman consoling a man by, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering Mental Health First Aid – virtual and in-person education programs to help Iowans help each other with mental health challenges.

Mental Health First Aid isn’t a typical self-help program. Instead, participants learn how to help someone else who is experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.

“Research from the National Institute of Mental Health shows that nearly one in five adults lives with a mental illness,” said Demi Johnson, behavioral health program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

“Participants will learn how to comfortably talk with their spouse, co-worker, friend or neighbor about that person’s mental health. It’s not an easy conversation, but it is important, and can save their life,” said Johnson.

Mental Health First Aid covers how to intervene during a wide range of mental health related challenges including, but not limited to, depression and anxiety symptoms, panic attacks and substance abuse, as well as when someone is thinking about dying by suicide.

“Many people experience co-occurring mental health challenges. Understanding a wide range of disorders can be extremely valuable when trying to understand another person’s experience and in helping them identify which treatment options are going to be the most appropriate for them,” said Johnson.

ISU Extension and Outreach will offer Adult Mental Health First Aid on Aug. 23 in Clarion, Sept. 22 virtually via Zoom, and Sept. 27 in Decorah. Private classes for groups of 15-30 participants are also available upon request. To register, go to

For more information, contact Demi Johnson at

Other resources

Iowa Concern, offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, provides confidential access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or visit the website,, to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress or crisis and disaster issues.

Finding Answers Now. As Iowans deal with disruptions to their families and communities, this website at provides information to help you cope with concerns about stress and relationships, personal finance, and nutrition and wellness.

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