Developed in 2000 by Betty Kitchener AM and Professor Tony Jorm, Mental Health First Aid Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation focused on mental health training and research.
Definition of Mental Health First Aid
Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person who is developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves.
What do MHFA Course Participants Learn?
MHFA courses teach mental health first aid strategies to members of the public. Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person who is developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of a mental health problem, or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves.
Course content is derived from a number of consensus studies incorporating the expertise of hundreds of researchers, clinicians, mental health consumer advocates and carer advocates across the English speaking western world.
MHFA courses can provide members of the community with:
- Skills in how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems
- Knowledge of the possible causes or risk factors for these mental health problems
- Awareness of the evidenced based medical, psychological and alternative treatments available
- Skills in how to give appropriate initial help and support someone experiencing a mental health problem
- Skills in how to take appropriate action if a crisis situation arises involving suicidal behaviour, panic attack, stress reaction to trauma, overdose or threatening psychotic behaviour.
The MHFA Action Plan ALGEE®
The MHFA courses teach you how to give mental health first aid using the Action Plan pictured below.
The MHFA Australia mascot, ALGEE the koala, is named after the Action Plan acronym.
Who Should Attend a MHFA Course?
MHFA courses are open to all members of the community, so the short answer is, everyone aged 18 years and above. In particular, it is recommended that MHFA becomes a prerequisite for all employed in human services.
This includes police officers, prison officers, high school teachers, TAFE and university lecturers, social and welfare workers, youth workers, Aboriginal health workers, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, lawyers, dieticians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, security officers, rehabilitation counsellors and anyone in a team leader/management role.