Theses Master's

The Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC Mental Health First Aid Training: An Evaluation Proposal to Assess Program Effectiveness, Outcomes and Financial Viability.

Dutta, Priyanka

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training program by ThriveNYC (2015) aims to increase the understanding of mental health, to teach trainees how to respond to signs of mental distress, to connect people in need to accessible options for care, and ultimately, to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness (ThriveNYC, 2020a).

The program has continued to expand over the past five years with a steady increase in the number of trainings administered (ThriveNYC, 2020a). However, this expansion does not seem to be supported by anything more than a primary evaluation of the program. Since its launch, publicly available internal evaluations of the MHFA program only highlight frequency data regarding the number of trainees who self-reported sharing or using the knowledge and/or the skills they gained to help others or themselves (NYC Open Data, 2020). There is no further evaluation into the behavioral impact on trainees, perceptions towards mental health or program fidelity. With a substantial portion of the budget allotted to the program, a thorough evaluation of the effectiveness and reach of its efforts is necessary to justify continued funding.

The purpose of this proposal is to facilitate a rigorous evaluation of ThriveNYC’s MHFA program, by designing an evaluation plan that incorporates a process, short-term and mid-term outcome analysis. The evaluation proposal will aim to (1) develop an evaluation plan that has measurable goals and objectives and rigorous methods for evaluation; (2) create an instrument that measures the program’s impact on behavior, knowledge, and attitudes of trainees in relation to mental health awareness and crisis response; (3) develop a tool to measure the short-term and mid-term outcomes of the training program in relation to eliminating barriers to care; (4) create a plan to measure process goals of the program, including program inputs and fidelity.
This evaluation along with its recommendations will inform the further continuation or expansion of ThriveNYC’s MHFA program.

Geographic Areas


More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Bogart, Jane S.
M.P.H., Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Published Here
April 5, 2021


Keywords: Mental Health First Aid, Mental health and illness, Mental health literacy, Program evaluation, ThriveNYC, New York City