Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) for Public Safety

MHFA is an 8-hour evidence-based curriculum that can help officers better serve those in their community who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. MHFA was designed to help participants identify signs and symptoms of different mental health and substance use disorders so that they can connect those in crisis to appropriate treatment and community resources. To learn more about MHFA, visit

Classes are offered once monthly and are valued by the National Council for Behavioral Health at $170 per person. Thanks to funding from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH), Advocates' CR-TTAC is offering MHFA for Public Safety to departments across the Commonwealth for FREE. 

*Please note: MHFA trainings are currently being held in person.


Meet our MHFA Instructors

Jay Ball

Jay is a 2004 graduate of the 12th Municipal Police Officers Class (MPOC) at the MBTA Transit Police Academy in Quincy, MA. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology from Liberty University. Presently, Jay is a sergeant assigned as a patrol supervisor with the Framingham Police Department. Prior to this assignment, he was a detective with the City of Framingham Police Department, attached to the MetroWest Drug Task Force. Jay has also spent time as a patrol officer, evidence officer, and a school resource officer.  Jay was previously employed as a police officer at the MBTA Transit Police and as a detective for many years with the Milford Police Department.

In addition to his current assignment, Jay is a Law Enforcement Liaison to the Middlesex County Veterans Treatment Court as it assists qualifying men and women who have served in our nations’ Armed Forces receive treatment instead of non-treatment-based decisions typically imposed in regular court proceedings.  Jay instructs various mental health, investigative, and narcotic courses to police officers, civilians, members of government agencies, and in academia. He has been a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor since Fall 2018. He currently serves on the Governor’s Opioid Remediation Fund Committee and is the chairman of the Northbridge Trustees of Soldiers Memorials.  As a United States Army Veteran, Jay has experience with deployment and critical incidents; as well as helping veterans and first responders eliminate the stigma which is frequently associated with mental health.


Kallie Montagano, MA

Kallie received her Bachelor of Psychology degree, with a minor in Sociology and a certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She went on to receive her master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  Currently, Kallie is the Manager of the Co-Response Training and Technical Assistance Center (CR-TTAC).  Prior to this role, Kallie served as the first Co-Response Jail Diversion Clinician for the Franklin and Medway Police Departments.  Kallie has been with Advocates for 7 years, has and worked for Psychiatric Emergency Services as the site supervisor, and on-site clinician at Marlborough Hospital in the Emergency Department.  Kallie comes from a Law Enforcement family and has spent time working with the Massachusetts State Police as a 911 and police dispatcher. She has been a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor since 2022.


Ashley Scionti, LCSW

Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Anna Maria College and went on to receive her master’s degree in Social Work from Wheelock College. Currently, Ashley serves as the Co-Response Jail Diversion Clinician in Natick. Ashley has an extensive previous background working within residential settings, providing clinical support to at-risk youth struggling with acute mental health symptoms. During her residential work, Ashley fulfilled a wide variety of roles from direct care staff to clinical and program management. She has been a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor since 2022.


Course Feedback

“I would recommend this course to others because it’s easy to forget that mental health issues are widespread and that, although every department has people we encounter often, they are not trying to be a nuisance, they are suffering.”

“It really helped having an officer teach the class, Jay has great presentation skills. He presented the material in a way that engaged the specific public safety audience with practical, first-hand examples from the field.”

“Both instructors were passionate about the information and it was a great course.”