Mental Health First Aid Training for Librarians


February 11, 2022
Celeste Bruno
Communications Director
1-800-952-7403 x208

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) has partnered with Walker Cares to offer Mental Health First Aid for Adults to library staff.  “COVID has caused stress and anxiety for so many people and librarians are seeing the mental toll on their communities first-hand,” said Lyndsay Forbes, Project Manager and Grants Specialist at the MBLC.

Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training that teaches people how to identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge in adults ages 18 and over. “While librarians are not taking on the role of social workers, in their daily interactions with the public it’s helpful for them to be equipped with ways to de-escalate stressful situations or to be able to connect people with help from the appropriate professionals,” said Forbes.

More than one in three (35%) Massachusetts adults ages 19 and over reported needing behavioral health care for themselves or a close relative over the past 12 month according to a recent report from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. Mental Health First Aid for Adults gives staff the tools to know how to interact in a compassionate way. Libraries can act as a referral system to help people find the information and assistance they need. This training will help increase communities’ access to mental health information and support.

The MBLC and Walker Cares are offering 5 sessions that focus on adults. The adult sessions follow 15 sessions for Youth Mental Health First Aid which were offered in the spring 2021 and again in the fall 2021 and attended by nearly 200 librarians.

The trainings are one of the many ways the MBLC is using federal ARPA and CARES Act funding to support local libraries and communities. The MBLC has used ARPA and CARES Act funds for a statewide hotspot lending program, remote learning, school eContent, and statewide eContent. Learn more about how the MBLC is using CARES Act and LSTA funding in Massachusetts on the LSTA/CARES MBLC website.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.