Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia has won the TheMHS Medal in the 2017 Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand program for service to mental health.
The top TheMHS Award, created in 2015, honours a unique and inspiring contribution to Mental Health by an individual or organisation. MHFA Australia was awarded the Medal to celebrate an extraordinary and world-leading influence on mental health literacy in the community through the Mental Health First Aid education programs.
The Award was announced 30th August at the Annual TheMHS Conference held this year in Sydney, Australia. It was presented to MHFA founder Betty Kitchener AM and CEO Nataly Bovopoulos by the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Federal Minister for Health.
MHFA Australia is a national not-for-profit health promotion charity focused on mental health training and research. Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person who is developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves.
Founders of the Mental Health First Aid Program, Betty Kitchener AM and Professor Tony Jorm, said that receiving the TheMHS Medal is a fitting acknowledgment of the hard work of the staff of MHFA Australia and of the thousands of instructors across the world, who have trained more than two million people as mental health first aiders. Betty Kitchener said, “Our aim is to create a world where every citizen has basic mental health first aid skills and where people with mental health problems receive appropriate support from those around them”.
The Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand are presented every year by TheMHS Learning Network to recognise and encourage best practice, excellence and innovation in mental health service delivery.
TheMHS Conference is the largest mental health and addiction services conference in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. TheMHS aims to promote positive attitudes about mental health and mental illness, and to stimulate debate that challenges the boundaries of knowledge and ideas about mental health care.