An introduction to the Teen MHFA course
Adolescence is a time of important change and development. It is also the time when mental health problems can first emerge.
During high school years, mental health problems are among the leading courses of falling grades, problems with friends, and relationships, substance use or abuse and they can have lifelong impact.
That’s where Mental Health First Aid training can help.
With a focus on improved mental health literacy and early intervention, the peer-to-peer Teen MHFA course is for high school students Years 7-9 and Years 10-12.
The Teen MHFA course is based on guidelines developed through the expert consensus of people with lived experience of mental health problems and professionals. The course equips teenagers with the skills to recognise and respond to a friend who may be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis situation. Using a practical, evidence-based action plan, the Teen MHFA course helps build the confidence needed to support a friend until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves.
Evaluations of the Teen MHFA course have shown:
Increased confidence in students to help a peer with a mental health problem
Reduced stigmatising attitudes towards people with problems mental health
Increased intentions to seek help for a mental health problem
Increased recognition and quality first aid skills in helping a peer at risk of suicide
Teen MHFA is an education course that teaches teenagers about the different types of mental health problems and mental health crisis situations in young people. The course teaches participants how to recognise changes in a friends’ thinking, feelings or behaviour that may indicate the presence of a mental health problem, how to offer initial mental first aid support and how to connect them with a trusted adult.
Topics covered include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bullying and abuse, intoxication, non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
Teen MHFA focuses on improving the mental health literacy of a whole cohort, to reduce the stigmatising behaviours and attitudes that often prevent teens from getting the help and support they need.
What’s the format?
3.5-hour course delivered via 3 face-to-face classroom sessions.
Note – the course can only be delivered when a minimum of 10% adults have been trained in Youth MHFA.
Who can attend?
Students in Years 7-9 and Years 10-12 can attend this course and it can also be delivered in other settings such as sports clubs, juvenile justice settings, scouts and guides.
The course must be delivered to the entire group of young people in the setting. For example, to every Year 10 student, or to every member of a sports team.
Why attend a course?
High school students who participate in Teen MHFA training report reduced stigma, increased confidence in supporting a peer with a mental health problem and the ability to better identify adults who may be able to help a peer with a mental health problem.
Find a Teen Instructor that's right for you
Mental Health First Aid courses are run all over Australia. Click the button below and search for a Teen MHFA Instructor in your area.
“The strength of this program was that it made you feel that you could make a difference to someone’s life.”
“I would like to say that the program has helped me have a better understanding about mental health. I will definitely look back on it in the future and use some of the techniques I have learnt.”
“When talking with students about problems well-being staff have found students referring back to things they learned in the course.”