A community mental health education program that has spread worldwide
Since delivery of the very first Mental Health First Aid® (MHFA™) course in 2000, MHFA has risen to become one of the most trusted, evidence-based mental health education programs in Australia and internationally.
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. Today Mental Health First Aid International and its licensed providers work with more than 50,000 accredited Instructors worldwide, across 26 countries.
We have now trained over 1 million people in Australia and a further 3 million people worldwide. These 4 million+ MHFAiders® have become part of a global network to provide mental health first aid to people within their local communities.
Evaluation has always been a key focus of the Mental Health First Aid program and is a key contributing factor to the success and impact of Mental Health First Aid training. The first randomised control trial for was conducted in NSW in 2011. Since then, the Mental Health First Aid program has been extensively evaluated and reported on through various trials, peer review and expert consensus within Australia and overseas.
Evaluations have consistently shown that Mental Health First Aid training is associated with improved knowledge of mental illnesses and their treatments, knowledge of appropriate first aid strategies, and confidence in providing first aid to individuals with mental illness. Research shows that these benefits are sustained over time. Some studies have also shown improved mental health in those who attend the training, decreases in stigmatising attitudes, and increases in the amount and type of support provided to others.
A number of these evaluations were conducted by Mental Health First Aid International or in partnership with the School of Population & Global Health (link to https://mspgh.unimelb.edu.au) led by Emeritus Professor Tony Jorm (co-founder of Mental Health First Aid) at the University of Melbourne.
Evaluation studies have also been conducted by independent organisations nationally and internationally. A meta-analysis published in 2014 reviewed all the published evaluation articles on Mental Health First Aid training and concluded that the results demonstrate that Mental Health First Aid education training increases participants’ knowledge regarding mental health problems, decreases their negative attitudes, and increases supportive behaviours toward individuals with mental health problems.
Our commitment to research, evaluation and understanding the impact of Mental Health First Aid for participants and communities, is still at the forefront of our vision and delivery today.
- Reflection on 17 years of the MHFA program. Produced by MHFA Australia as a gift for Betty Kitchener AM when she stepped down as CEO early 2017
- MHFA evaluation studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Also see additional articles about MHFA.
- Information on current MHFA research projects.