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The mental health first aid training and research program was developed to improve the mental health literacy of the Australian public by providing adults with the skills necessary to offer initial assistance to someone with a mental health problem. The program acknowledges the value of early intervention and believes through intervening early, actions such as suicide and self-harming may be avoided. Betty Kitchener and Professor Tony Jorm began work on the program in 2000 and since then, the program has been developed, evaluated, and disseminated both nationally and internationally. The program is run by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia, a national non-profit health promotion charity focused on training and research.
One component of the program are the Instructor training courses which are delivered over a five day period. These courses provide participants with the necessary qualifications to become a mental health first aid instructor who can readily deliver the various training courses offered by MHFA to their community.
A second component of the program includes the MHFA courses offered to members of the public. These courses have been designed to educate community members on how to provide assistance to people who are in the early stages of developing a mental illness (e.g., depression) and to give assistance to those experiencing a mental health crisis (such as assisting someone who is suicidal). The courses have been found to be successful in: improving knowledge about mental health; increasing supportive behaviours towards those experiencing a mental illness; and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness.
The courses offered include:
14-hour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander MHFA course - adapted from the original MHFA course in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals and community representatives.
Mental Health First Aid Australia
369 Royal Parade
Parkville Vic 3052
Ph: (03) 9079 0200
Fax: (03) 9347 3248