Skip to content

Key resources

  • Bibliography
  • Health promotion
    Health promotion
  • Health practice
    Health practice
  • Programs
  • Conferences
  • Courses
  • Funding
  • Jobs
  • Organisations
  • Health Services MapHealth Services Map
Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places
  • Home
    • » Key resources and services
      • » Health promotion resources
        • » Mental health first aid guidelines for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Mental health first aid guidelines for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (2008)


MHFA Training and Research Program


ORYGEN Research Centre


Melbourne, Victoria





The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course was originally developed in 2002, following the successful application of the model to conventional first aid. The course trains members of the public to give early help to people developing a mental disorder (including depression and related disorders) and to give assistance in mental health crisis situations (such as assisting someone who is suicidal). It has been successful in improving knowledge about mental health and increasing confidence in helping those developing a mental disorder or suffering mental health crises. The original material however was deemed inappropriate for particular cultural groups who have different understandings of health and mental illness. For this reason, national, culturally appropriate guidelines for the provision of MHFA to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were developed.

The guidelines aim to provide a consensus on how to approach MHFA for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a way that is culturally appropriate and mindful of their concept of health and wellbeing. The research involved the development of a survey, which included first aid action statements gleaned from a systematic search of lay and medical literatures. A panel of Indigenous experts in Aboriginal mental health was then recruited to rate the action statements. Items that were rated as either essential or important were endorsed as MHFA actions and used to draft the guideline documents.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Contact details

Laura Hart
MHFA Training and Research Team
ORYGEN Research Centre
Department of Psychiatry
University of Melbourne
Ph: (03) 9342 3764
Fax: (03) 9342 3745



Last updated: 18 August 2014
Return to top