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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
 

Mental health first aid training and research program

 

Overview

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.

Contacts

Mental Health First Aid Australia
Level 6
369 Royal Parade
Parkville Vic 3052
Ph: (03) 9079 0200
Fax: (03) 9347 3248
Email: mhfa@mhfa.com.au

Related publications

Kanowski L, Jorm A, Hart L (2009)

A mental health first aid training program for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: description and initial evaluation.

International Journal of Mental Health Systems; 3: 10

Retrieved 3 June 2009 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1752-4458-3-10

Jorm AF, Kitchener BA, Kanowski LG, Kelly CM (2007)

Mental health first aid training for members of the public.

International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology; 7(1): 141-151

Kitchener BA, Jorm AF (2008)

Mental health first aid: an international programme for early intervention.

Early Intervention in Psychiatry; 2(1): 55-61

Kanowski L (2008)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA) program.

Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal; 32(2): 18-19

Evaluated publications

Kanowski L, Jorm A, Hart L (2009)

A mental health first aid training program for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: description and initial evaluation.

International Journal of Mental Health Systems; 3: 10

Retrieved 3 June 2009 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1752-4458-3-10

Jorm A, Hart L (2008)

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA) National Pilot Program : 2008 evaluation report for the Department of Health and Ageing, Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

Melbourne: ORYGEN Research Centre, University of Melbourne

Links

 
Last updated: 6 June 2013
 
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