Our Purpose, Vision and Guiding Principles | Mental Health First Aid

Our Vision

A world where we all have the skills to support people experiencing mental health problems.

Our Purpose

Provide high quality, evidence-based mental health first aid education to everyone.

Our Guiding Principles

  • We are informed by the lived experience of people with mental health problems and those who care for them.
  • We are evidence-based and use rigorous, scientific research methods to create and evaluate our work.
  • We are dedicated to achieving excellence in our work and committed to continuous improvement.
  • We respect and embrace the diversity of all people.
  • We make mental health education accessible for all.
  • We care for and support our communities in all that we do.

Strategic Plan

The 2021-2025 Strategic Plan sets out the vision and focus that will guide our work over the next four years.  The plan identifies four key interconnected areas that will help us achieve our vision of a world where we all have the skills to support people experiencing mental health problems.  Those four areas of strategic focus are:

  1. Education and Community Development
  2. Research and Evaluation
  3. Quality Program Delivery
  4. Sustainable Operations and Growth


Our Structure

Mental Health First Aid ® 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 education training programs.

The History of Mental Health First Aid™

According to the Australian Productivity Commission - Inquiry Report Mental Health 2020, Mental illness is now said to (statistically) affect every Australian – either directly or indirectly.  Every one of us is likely to know someone experiencing a mental health problem. This may be a family member, friend, colleague, or someone in the community.  This makes mental health everybody’s business and illustrates the need for mental health community care models that empower individuals to seek and receive localised mental health support at school or where they work or live.

Despite the prevalence of mental health problems in Australia, misinformation, misunderstanding and stigmatising attitudes still exist and can often prevent a person from seeking or receiving the help they need. 

Mental Health First Aid™ founders, Betty Kitchener AM and her husband Professor Tony Jorm first identified the need for improved mental health literacy back in 1997.  Three years later, in 2000 the first Mental Health First Aid course was delivered to fill a community gap for practical mental health training, that would parallel the first-aid training provided for physical health.

From local to national, from national to international – over the past two decades, Mental Health First Aid™ has expanded its reach within communities of all different types, sizes, and locations. We have now trained over 4 million people world-wide. These MHFAiders have become part of a global network to provide mental health first aid to people within their local communities. (more info on international MHFA Programs).


Our purpose symbolised in our logo

The Mental Health First Aid™ logo is made up of three elements that work together to symbolise and communicate our purpose and vision.

  1. The flannel flower featured is the national symbol of mental health awareness in Australia (see Mental Health Australia for more info).
  2. The cross featured is the international symbol for first aid.
  3. Our tagline ‘For Anyone. For Everyone’ clearly and concisely communicates the purpose and vision of our training.

The Mental Health First Aid™ Action Plan ALGEE®

Mental Health First Aid ™ education courses teach you how to give mental health first aid using the Mental Health First Aid™ Action Plan.


Tick of Charity Registration

Mental Health First Aid International is a registered health promotion charity and is listed on the Australian Charity and Not-for-profits Commission Register. Learn more about The ACNC Tick of Charity Registration.

Our Annual Reports