Dissemination Challenges Associated With Mental Health First Aid in New Mexico: Insights From Instructors

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Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) has the potential to addresses health disparities, especially within rural communities that are underserved with respect to behavioral health services, through increasing mental health literacy among key community members. Because MHFA instructors play a key role in the dissemination of MHFA, their views on the challenges in delivering the MHFA course are important. The purpose of this study was to identify the type and extent of challenges that MHFA instructors have experienced, or expect to experience, when disseminating MHFA in New Mexico. An online survey on challenges encountered, or expected to be encountered, in the dissemination of MHFA was completed by 31 MHFA instructors. Challenges were classified into costs associated with the training, MHFA-specific issues, community-related issues, and implementation issues. Among 22 potential challenges, those related to costs were the challenges most likely to be identified by instructors. These costs include MHFA books for those being trained, snacks for the training, and instructor-related travel expenses. An understanding of the challenges will help increase the dissemination of MHFA in New Mexico as well as in other states. Further exploration of the value of instructor support (e.g., administrative, organizational, and financial) and importance of prerequisite skills (e.g., mental health expertise and training experience) in the dissemination process is warranted.

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