Mental Health First Aid Officers | Mental Health First Aid

MHFA Officers

Mental Health First Aid Officers

It is common for workplaces to appoint physical first aid officers. Now, lots of workplaces are also seeing the value of appointing skilled individuals to provide mental health first aid.

Appointing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Officers in your workplace is a positive way to demonstrate that your organisation cares about individual well-being. MHFA Officers are trained to provide initial informal support to other employees in the workplace, outside of Human Resources and Workplace Health & Safety departments. They can complement formal support services, like Employee Assistance Programs.

In the next two to five years, I'd like to see that it is normal at any workplace that there is on the notice board the name of the first aid officer and then next to that the number of the mental health first aid officer.

Tim Marney, WA Mental Health Commissioner, Oct 2014

What is a
Mental Health First Aid Officer

MHFA Officers are accredited Mental Health First Aiders who are appointed to provide mental health first aid within their worksite as required.

Mental Health First Aid Officers are

Formally appointed and supported by their workplace
A confidential peer support for initial contact, assistance and referrals
An informal way of accessing support, outside of HR or a manager
A valuable complement to other support services such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Mental Health First Aid Officers are not

A substitute for professional support services such as the EAP
Counsellors or a mediation or dispute resolution mechanism
A replacement for Human Resources
A "fixer", rather they empower and assist the employee to seek further support

MHFA Officers an emerging trend

As part of building a mentally healthy workplace, many industries and organisations are making MHFA Officers a workplace requirement. For example, the Downer Group, Lendlease and law firm Norton Rose Fullbright all have nominated MHFA Officers. The South Australian public service, Enterprise Agreement requires workplaces to train the same number of staff in MHFA as there are Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) and First Aid Officers at the workplace.

Download a case study of how Downer implemented MHFA

What are the benefits of appointing MHFA Officers

Improves workplace culture

Appointing MHFA Officers is a positive way to demonstrate that your organisation cares about individual well-being. It can strengthen a supportive workplace culture and improve cohesion, retention and engagement.

Increases support

Workplaces report that MHFA Officers provide valuable support to staff, by encouraging employees to speak openly about mental health and being able to facilitate early intervention.

Improves knowledge, attitudes and skills

MHFA Officers report that they feel competent and confident to have an MHFA conversation and encourage professional help in their workplace.

Complements existing services

MHFA Officers work with existing workplace support, encouraging staff they support to make use of of EAP programs and other services

Download the Workplace Implementation Guide

We are here to support you throughout your journey creating and maintaining a mentally healthy workplace. Download our implementation guide for tips and information on how to appoint MHFA Officers and implement MHFA training in your workplace.

If you have any questions, we are here to help.

Implementation Guide

Download our Mental Health First Aid Policy Template

MHFA Policy Template