Mental Health First Aid
Virtual Training

Find out more by clicking on the headings below

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem, or experiencing a crisis, and help connect them to the appropriate care.

Most of us would know how to help if we saw someone having a heart attack—we’d start CPR, or at the very least, call 9-1-1. But too few of us would know how to respond if we saw someone having a panic attack, or if we were concerned that a friend or co-worker might be showing signs of alcoholism.

Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems by teaching you how to recognize the signs and symptoms that suggest a potential mental health challenge, how to listen non judgmentally and give reassurance to someone who may be experiencing a mental health challenge, and how to refer a person to appropriate professional support and services.

Mental Health First Aid is an international training program that was created in Australia in 2000, brought to the U.S. in 2008, and is now in 24 countries around the world. Upon completing the course you will become a certified Mental Health First Aider which is valid for three years.

What will I learn?

The course will cover:

  • The common signs and symptoms of mental illness
  • The common signs and symptoms of substance use
  • How to interact with a person in crisis
  • How to connect the person with help
  • Expanded content on trauma, addiction and self-care

The course will teach you how to apply the MHFA ALGEE Action Plan:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

The course will help you:

  • Grow your knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions.
  • Identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction.
  • Increase your confidence in and likelihood of helping an individual in distress.
  • Show increased mental wellness yourself.
How is the training delivered?

The course is delivered in two parts. The first is a 2-hour self-paced online course that must be completed prior to the second part which is a 6 hour virtual live instructor led session. There is also a brief online post-class quiz and evaluation.

Once the class size minimums have been met, we will enroll you in the course for the date you have selected and send you an email with the information you will need to log-in to complete your pre-work. You will be asked to change your password upon log-in.

To begin your pre-work, in your dashboard, select start under ENROLLED COURSES. You will see an over view of the course. Select START in the upper right-hand corner of the course description page to begin your first module. Google Chrome is the recommended browser to use for completing your pre-work.

You will need to complete the first 9 steps. It may seem like a lot, but several of the steps are documents for you to download or print. You will not be shown as having completed the pre-work if you do not complete all the steps  If you have any issues completing your pre-work please let us know.

The instructor led session will be held over Zoom which you will be able to access via a link you will have received from [email protected]. Please be sure to whitelist this email along with [email protected] (National Council for Mental Wellbeing). You need to have Zoom installed and a camera and microphone for the live Zoom training, as it is interactive.

How do I register?

Click the “Register Now” button below or go to to select the date and time you wish to attend the virtual live instructor led course, provide your contact information, and pay the registration fee of $125 with a credit card or through PayPal. You will receive confirmation of your registration from BTS.

IATSE Members in good standing and those working under IATSE agreements should be eligible for Training Trust Fund reimbursement upon proof of successful completion of the course and are therefor not eligible for a scholarship.

Thanks to the generosity of the CHAUVET Professional ReSet Fund, a limited number of partial and full scholarships are available to individuals not eligible for reimbursement from the Training Trust Fund, or any other organization such as your employer, venue, or educational institution. Full time students are not eligible.

If you reside in Canada, training is available through the AFC at

As soon as we have five attendees for a class, we will enroll you in the course for the date you have selected and send you an email with the information you will need to log-in to complete your pre-work. We will notify you a minimum of one week prior to the class if we have not reached the minimum requirement of five attendees and we will work with you to transfer your registration to a new date.

New classes will be added to the schedule on a regular basis.

Transfer/cancellation policy

Transfer/Cancellation Policy

Over 7 days in advance

  • Transfer – full $125 registration fee applied to next class. Only one transfer allowed.
  • Cancel – refund of $100

3-7 days in advance

  • Transfer – $25 fee with $100 applied to next class ($150 total fee). Only one transfer allowed.
  • Cancel – refund of $75

Less than 3 days in advance

  • Transfer to another class – $75 fee required with $50 applied to next class ($200 total fee). Only one transfer allowed.
  • Cancel – no refund

Please note that if you cancel or transfer you will need to register for a new class that takes place within 60 days of your original class or you will lose any pre-work credit that you may have and will need to redo the pre-work section of the training.

Hosting a private group class

Private group classes are available for 10 or more and there are three different options available: all virtual class, hybrid class, or all in-person class.

For more information, please download the appropriate PDF for your organization:

Meet the trainers

Bryan Hunneycutt, HuneyBadger Entertainment Consulting
Bryan has over 30 years of experience in the live event production industry with a special focus on safety including a position as the Program Manager for Entertainment Safety for Disney Parks and Resorts Live Entertainment. He currently serves on the Steering Committee for the Behind the Scenes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative and as the Chair of the USITT Health and Safety Commission.

Steven Michelman
Steven believes in using his lived experience to increase awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.  After a suicide attempt, he spent five weeks at an inpatient facility where he began his recovery. Steven now focuses his efforts as a Mental Health First Aid instructor. In addition to teaching, Steven speaks publicly about his challenges with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation.  This dedication to sharing his story supports his vision to create acceptance and eliminate stigma for people experiencing mental health challenges. Steven has over 30 years of experience in entertainment production and technology. Prior to founding the Las Vegas based company, Entertainment Project Services (EPS), Steven supported many productions, including: installation and opening crew and later Technical Director for Cirque du Soleil’s “O”; carpenter at the Old Globe in San Diego and at the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State; Production Coordinator for the Mandalay Bay Arena; Technical Director and safety consultant for over twenty productions for Royal Caribbean Entertainment; Project Manager for productions at Disneyland, Disneyworld and, Universal Studios Osaka. Along with his professional experience, Steven received his BFA in Scenic Design from Ithaca College and an MFA in Technical Direction from Penn State University. 

Kayleigh Truman, M.A.
(She/They) is a mental health advocate and full-time stagehand with IATSE Local One in the greater New York City area. Between Broadway, Madison Square Garden and beyond, Kayleigh works to help create better accessibility and more relevant mental health resources for the greater entertainment community.

Attendees' reflections

 “It was a great basis for the different types of mental health struggles, and really addressed key points to consider when approaching those situations.”

“Between long hours, commutes, and high stress there are a lot of burdening factors and it was nice to know some tools to help bolster those we work with.”

“Being able to participate in this class, among others who are in the same industry and facilitated by someone who has decades of experience with the course material made a huge difference. Often, taking courses with a blend of people with varying vocations waters down the content and exercises. Having stories shared and dialogue that is geared towards my specific occupation and its uniqueness was a game changer.”

“Knowing how to notice and communicate about mental health issues or substance abuse is essential! Having the skill set and vocabulary to talk with others, or even process internally, helps us all make stronger and more effective connections.”

“I think this was detailed information to be able to make an informed decision as to how to assist someone who may need guidance or help.”

Read about one person’s experience with taking the training.

Still have questions? Email [email protected]

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Behind the Scenes Foundation makes no representations or warranty whatsoever, either expressed or implied, regarding any information or advice provided by this training. In no event shall Behind the Scenes Foundation be liable to you or anyone else for any decision or action taken in reliance on information provided by this training.