Our Purpose, Vision and Mission | Mental Health First Aid

Our Vision

Our vision is a community where everyone has the first aid skills to support people with mental health problems.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide high quality, evidence-based mental health first aid education to everyone.

Our Values

  • We are evidence-based and use rigorous, scientific research methods to create and evaluate our work.
  • We are informed by the lived experience of people with mental health problems and those who care for them and draw on their perspectives in our work.
  • We are passionate and dedicated to innovation and achieving excellence in our work.
  • We respect and embrace the diversity of all people irrespective of their health, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, age, religion, and sexuality.
  • We enjoy what we do and look after our own well-being and each other as we work.

Strategic Plan

Our strategic plan sets out the vision and focus that will guide us for the next three years.
The plan covers three broad, interconnected areas that will help us achieve our mission:

  • Spreading the reach of Mental Health First Aid
  • Ensuring high quality Instructors and courses
  • Develop the organisation’s capacity to better serve the community.

Our Structure

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia is a national not-for-profit health promotion charity focused on mental health training and research. MHFA Australia operates under the governance of a Board of Directors and derives funding from government and philanthropic grants, public donations and through its training programs.

Our Founding History

Whilst people often know a lot about common physical health problems, there is widespread ignorance of mental health. Regular first aid courses are recognised as improving the public's skills in giving initial and appropriate help at medical emergencies but, unfortunately, most of these courses do not address helping with mental health problems.

However, mental health problems are common. In Australia, approximately one in five adults will experience mental illness in any given year. In light of this, all members of the community can expect to have close contact with someone experiencing a mental illness.

Lack of knowledge and stigmatising attitudes about mental illness may prevent people from seeking help early, seeking the best sort of help and also providing appropriate support to colleagues and family members, simply because they do not know how.

In 2000, in order to improve the level of mental health literacy of the community, a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course was developed by husband and wife team Betty Kitchener AM and Professor Tony Jorm, following the model that has been successfully applied in many countries with conventional first aid. Since this time, MHFA training has spread to every state and territory in Australia and internationally, currently to over 25 countries (more info on international MHFA Programs).

The founders of MHFA hope that MHFA becomes a mandatory certification for certain professions and roles, as physical first aid is. This will ensure that the skills to assist people with mental health problems will spread beyond mental health professionals, and that the program will fulfil its aim of contributing towards improved support, early detection and treatment of mental health problems and reducing the stigma attached to mental illness.

Our purpose symbolised in the flannel flower - promoting mental health awareness

Our purpose is symbolised by the flannel flower featured in the MHFA Australia logo. The flannel flower, an Australian native, is the national symbol to promote mental health awareness in Australia (see Mental Health Australia for more info). This flower, along with all native Australian plants, needs to be adaptable and enduring in order to survive the extremes of weather and landscape in the Australian bush. In the same way, all of us develop resilience and the ability to adapt to change, in order to maintain good mental health. Positive and inclusive attitudes towards people with mental health problems can assist in the recovery of people living with mental illness.

The MHFA Action Plan ALGEE®

The MHFA courses teach you how to give mental health first aid using the Action Plan.

Tick of Charity Registration

Mental Health First Australia is listed on the ACNC’s register and has met the ACNC’s legal meaning of being a charity and other requirements by law. Learn more about The ACNC Tick of Charity Registration.

Our Annual Reports