Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education

Preconference Workshops
8:00 AM
5:00 PM
Fort Worth Ballroom 1/2
Session #
Session Type
Organized By
  • Families & Health
  • Family Therapy

About the Session

Presenter: Jennifer Rojas-McWhinney, Ph.D., CFLE, is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University, and a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor (Youth and Adult). Since joining NCFR in 2006, Dr. Rojas-McWhinney has been involved with several NCFR sections and with the Latino(a) Research, Parent Education, and Families and Technology focus groups. As a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), Dr. Rojas-McWhinney, actively works with families, educators, community members, university personnel, and church leadership to improve family engagement and mental health awareness. As a faculty member, she continually seeks opportunities to enhance learning in order to positively impact the lives of others. With a passion for education, she believes education should extend outside of the university classroom and works with parents and educators within the community to address strengths as well as challenges faced by families.

(Supported by the Families and Health and Family Therapy Sections)

Training students, faculty, and others in higher education settings how to recognize the symptoms of emerging mental illnesses or to assist young adults in a mental health crisis can help lessen the severity and impact of mental illnesses

In this NCFR preconference workshop —designed with colleges’ and universities’ unique culture and resources in mind — Jennifer Rojas-McWhinney, Ph.D., CFLE, who is a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, will take you through the Mental Health First Aid training

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems; builds understanding of their impact; and overviews appropriate supports. This eight-hour course uses roleplaying and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect people to the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. The program also teaches common risk factors and warning signs of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. Mental Health First Aid is included on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).


--Recognize the potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis and psychotic disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury; and use a five-step action plan to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional help.

--Interpret the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced negative attitudes in their communities.
--Apply knowledge of the appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem treat and manage the problem and achieve recovery; and assess their own views and feelings about mental health problems and disorders.

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Conference Session