We want YOU…to become a MHFA Instructor!

It could not POSSIBLY be August already. Where has the time gone? From all of us here at the Be a Lifeline blog, we hope you have been enjoying this beautiful (albeit fast) Colorado summer as much as we have. Of course, summer isn’t over yet, but we’re already starting to think towards the future. More specifically, YOUR future. Even more specifically, your future as an Adult Mental Health First Aid instructor.

Seriously though, we’re talking to YOU. Do you to make a difference in your community? Do you want to increase education and decrease stigma surrounding mental health? Do you want to be a part of a network of incredible individuals doing exactly that all across Colorado, the US, and the world? If you answered yes to ANY of those questions, please keep reading to learn about how you could become a Mental Health First Aid instructor NEXT WEEK. This is NOT a drill. Read on.

Mental Health First Aid Colorado is excited to announce an additional Instructor Training opportunity this August 10th-14th.  Mental Health First Aid Colorado is pleased to solicit individuals interested in the strategic expansion of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in their communities. MHFA is a groundbreaking, internationally recognized evidence-based training program to help citizens identify mental health and substance abuse problems, connect individuals to care, and safely de-escalate crisis situations if needed. The Adult MHFA course trains adults assisting other adults.

The MHFA Instructor training is held over five days and is taught by two authorized MHFA trainers connected to at least one of the Mental Health First Aid – USA Authorities. Only participants who have been present for the entire 5-day training will be considered for certification as instructors. Unless, a participant is a current Instructor for the Youth MHFA curriculum, they will only be required to attend the first 2.5 days of training to become certified as an Instructor for the Adult MHFA curriculum.

Key Information:
Dates: August 10th-14th
Time: 8:30a-5:00p Monday-Friday
Location: Sungate Kids (Denver Metro)
Cost: $1,500 per participant
Application: All interested parties must submit and complete the application to be considered eligible. Click here to download the application.

This solicitation process was designed to support individuals who have opportunities to reach out to populations (first responders; government; deaf and hard of hearing; criminal justice; schools; at risk populations, etc) in their community and demonstrate a clear commitment to the mission and values of the Mental Health First Aid initiative.  Preference will be given to candidates who have not had the opportunity to receive MHFA/YMHFA Instructor trainings through their organization or association. All individuals will be asked to complete an application (see attached) to ensure they meet National criteria for Instructors.

If you, or individuals from your community, are interested, please contact Tony Barkey at tbarkey@mhfaco.org. or by calling 720-573-3590.

MHFA Colorado


Behind the Scenes at MHFACO: News and Noteworthy Events

Hello LifeLiners, FirstAiders and anyone who accidentally ended up on our blog!

As a reminder, each month I will write about some big developments at Mental Health First Aid Colorado (MHFACO). Recently, we attended two major events. On May 19th, we had the annual Stepping Up for Our Communities Event to honor National Children’s Mental Health Day and National Mental Health Awareness Month. Then the following night, the team braved the weather at the Rockies game for Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council’s Night at the Rockies.

At the annual training event, we had over 90 individuals trained in-person in youth and adult MHFA and an additional 90 plus trained across the state at six different spoke events. A big thanks to Southeast Mental Health Group, Centennial Mental Health Center, AspenPointe, The Center for Mental Health and Jefferson Center for Mental Health for hosting spoke events across the state that day. The event also featured a fantastic keynote address from Curt Drennen, Outreach Program Manager, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, where he discussed stress and how the body and mind react to stressful situations.

During lunch, we all had the privilege to hear touching first hand stories from the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health Youth Essay Contest first place (Sydney Lacy) and second place (Chris Maclean) winners, as well as Children’s Hospital Youth Action Board Member, Kelsey Briding. All three spoke eloquently about how mental illness had impacted their lives and through the telling of their stories, literally reduced stigma before our eyes. As a bonus, they will also be featured guest bloggers, along with the third place essay contest winner, Christopher Glenn Watterud.

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All in all, an amazing way to spend a Tuesday!

The next night, the team manned a booth at the Rockies game. Since we were playing the Philadelphia Phillies, we reached out to our partners at the Philadelphia Mental Health First Aid office to see if we could cross promote the event. We are proud to lead the efforts in Colorado, but it is important to remember that MHFA is a national movement and program. The team in Philly does some amazing work, and they came through and shared all kinds of informational giveaways and goodies. We even made a little wager on the outcome of the game.

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While it didn’t work out for us this time, we did get to meet a lot of fans and spread the word about our programs. As always, feel free to drop us a line at registration@mhfaco.org, check out the website at www.mhfaco.org, or leave a comment below.

Tony Barkey is the Statewide Program Coordinator for Mental Health First Aid Colorado. To hear more from Tony, enter your email in the “Follow” box at the right or check out his earlier post here.

Mental Health First Aid Colorado Happenings

We know, we know. Today is Wednesday, not Monday when you normally see a post from us. But, we could think of no better mid-week pick-me-up than to connect with you through this blog. You’re in need of a quick pick-me-up too? Great, we’re in good company.  Read on for some awesome updates from Tony Barkey. Spoiler alert: he’s included an adorable picture of his dog. This is not a drill, so you should probably keep scrolling.

Hi my name is Tony Barkey and I am the Statewide MHFACO Program Coordinator. You can learn a lot more about me if you click here. Each blog, I will try to share some of our higher level news and upcoming events. This month there are a couple of things that I really want to highlight. First, I would like to shamelessly try to grab your attention with a picture of my dog.


OK focus now. The first thing I wanted to do is promote the Stepping Up for Our Communities Event on Tuesday May 19th. This is a really cool event where we will train over 300 individuals in youth and adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). The event takes place at the Arapahoe Community College located at 5900 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, CO 80120. We have a lineup of great speakers, excellent food and of course the ability to become youth or adult MHFA certified. Oh and did I mention that the event is completely FREE. Not the type of free where you still end up having to buy a book, but really free and we will feed you and send you home with goodies. To register for the adult class, please click here. To register for the youth class please click here. The courses are for anyone that would like to learn more about mental health and substance abuse issues, and both give you an action plan to help yourself or someone else that is going through difficult times. The youth course is meant for adults working primarily with a youth audience. Similarly, the adult course is meant for adults working mostly with adults.

The next big piece of news is the new and improved registration system. Thank you all for your patience as the new system was coming to life. To check it out for yourself and to register for a course just visit http://www.mhfaco.org/find-a-class. On the homepage, you can use the filter in the top left to sort by the type of class (youth or adult), location of your preferred class and a date and time that works best for you. You can also use the arrows in the middle of the page to manually look by month. Finally, there is an ability to click list on the far right and you can view courses in chronological order.

Once you find a class that you are interested in, all you have to do is register. We will ask some basic demographic questions and you will complete a pre-course survey. Both are essential to the bigger picture of MHFACO. We are able to offer the course free of cost through multiple state and federal funding sources. Demographic information helps us know information about who is taking the course and more importantly where we need to do some targeted outreach. Rest assured, your information is secure and we will never share that with anyone else. Even though the course is nationally recognized and evidence based, the survey is still important to continuously build the case that the trainings work. It also helps us create a feedback loop to make constant improvements to the course.

After you complete your registration, you will receive email confirmation. Now all you need to do is come to the course for the day that you signed up and be ready to learn. If you have any questions about registering or anything else please feel free to reach me at tbarkey@mhfaco.org.