Mental health first aid program available virtually

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide virtual Mental Health First Aid trainings throughout fall 2020. Due to the increased stressors produced by the COVID-19 pandemic, drought conditions and the derecho, this virtual program will be offered to provide adults with tools they can use to identify when someone might be struggling with a mental health and/or substance use problem.

Attendees also will learn how to connect others to appropriate support and resources when necessary. A five-step action plan will be taught to guide participants through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

Everyone can benefit from taking a mental health first aid course, from agribusiness professionals, producers, paramedics and faith leaders to teachers, mothers, fathers, siblings and friends. Learning more about mental health can help reduce the stigma associated with behavioral health problems, recognize signs of trouble and help people get the assistance they need, said David Brown, behavioral health specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach.

ISU Extension and Outreach will offer Mental Health First Aid on a variety of dates. Each virtual program will last for four and a half hours. Unique URLs to access the Zoom link will be sent to registered participants prior to the program. Those dates and times are as follows:

  • Sept. 24 at 1:00 p.m.

  • Oct. 1 at 4:00 p.m.

  • Oct. 15 at 10:30 a.m.

  • Nov. 5 at 10:30 a.m.

  • Nov.19 at 10:30 a.m.

  • Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m.

The cost is $35. However, agribusiness professionals, producers, commodity group members, bankers, veterinarians and vet techs can register at no cost for any of these programs by using the code AGPRO when registering. To register, go to Prior to attending the instructor led virtual course, participants will be required to complete a two-hour, online self-study class.

For more information, feel free to contact David Brown at [email protected] or Anthony Santiago at [email protected].

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.

COVID Recovery Iowa offers a variety of services to anyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual counselors and consultants provide counseling, family finance consultation, farm financial consultation, referral information and help finding resources for any Iowan seeking personal support. Iowans of all ages may join groups online for activities and learn creative strategies for coping with the effects of the pandemic. COVID Recovery Iowa will announce upcoming programs on the website and via all social media to help Iowans build coping skills, resilience and emotional support. To request support, go to or call the Iowa Warm Line at 1-844-775-9276.