In 2001, Mental Health First Aid® was created in Australia by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor. Their effort has grown to now include more than 20 countries teaching Mental Health First Aid through Mental Health First Aid International. 

More than a half-million people in the United States are now certified in Mental Health First Aid. In 2007, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the National Council for Behavioral Health worked together with the Mental Health Association of Maryland (which operates Mental Health First Aid Maryland) to create and implement Mental Health First Aid USA. From the start, Mental Health First Aid Maryland was responsible for developing, producing and distributing curriculum and products through the original MHFA Store.