Mental Health First Aid Guidelines

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In order to improve the quality of the mental health first aid techniques being taught to the public in our courses, MHFA Australia and researchers in the Mental Health Literacy Research Team lead by Professor Tony Jorm (now the Population Mental Health Group at the University of Melbourne) have developed guidelines on what constitutes best practice first aid, as informed by expert consensus (i.e., consensus-based guidelines).  MHFA Course curriculum in face to face and eLearning is based on these guidelines. View all published research on MHFA Course development (i.e., MHFA Guidelines development) here.

Guidelines in the following areas have been developed, and are available for free download below:


Mental Health First Aid Guidelines for English Speaking Countries

Guidelines for the public have been developed for English speaking countries with developed health systems about first aid applicable to a range of developing mental disorders and mental health crisis situations. These guidelines were produced using the Delphi method, which is a systematic way of assessing the consensus of a panel of experts. The guidelines consist of first aid actions that have been rated as important or essential by expert panels of professionals, consumers and carers.

Download MHFA Depression Guidelines 2008 (289.79 KB) Download MHFA Eating Disorders Guidelines 2008 (271.09 KB)
Download MHFA Suicide Guidelines Revised 2014 (1.59 MB) Download MHFA Self Injury Guidelines Revised 2014 (1.35 MB)
Download MHFA Panic Guidelines 2008 (1.03 MB) Download MHFA Psychosis Guidelines 2008 (268.63 KB)
Download MHFA Adult Trauma Guidelines 2008 (286.3 KB) Download MHFA Child Trauma Guidelines 2008 (274.23 KB)
Download MHFA Problem Drug Use Guidelines 2009 (262.54 KB) Download MHFA Problem Alcohol Guidelines Use 2009 (287.5 KB)
Download MHFA Communication with Adolescents Guidelines 2014 (495.34 KB) Download MHFA Cannabis Guidelines 2009Download MHFA Cannabis Guidelines 2009 (2.59 MB)

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Mental Health First Aid Guidelines for Other Cultures

The above guidelines have been developed for use in developed English-speaking countries. They may not be applicable in other cultures or with minority cultures within developed English-speaking countries. Projects are underway to develop guidelines that can be applied in other cultural groups. The following guidelines are currently available:

Guidelines for providing Mental Health First Aid to an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Person

All of the guidelines can be downloaded as a compilation Download AMHFA Guidelines Compilation 2008 (4.35 MB) or you may download them individually below. You can also order these for free from the ‘Organisation’ section of the beyondblue website (search for Indigenous Mental Health First Aid Guidelines Pack): www.beyondblue.org.au/resources

Download AMHFA Cultural Guidelines 2008 (687.49 KB) Download AMHFA Depression Guidelines 2008 (446.87 KB)
Download AMHFA Psychosis Guidelines 2008 (485.51 KB) Download AMHFA Suicide Guidelines 2008 (905.22 KB)
Download AMHFA Trauma Guidelines 2008 (451.61 KB) Download AMHFA Drinking Guidelines 2009 (812.9 KB)
Download AMHFA Drug Guidelines 2010 (1003.48 KB) AMHFA Adolescent Communication Download AMHA Adolescent Communication Guidelines 2014 (345.83 KB)

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Guidelines for providing Mental Health First Aid in Asian Countries

Once again, these guidelines were developed using the same method as the others, but with only one panel. The panel involved in developing these guidelines were mental health clinicians from a large number of Asian countries. They may not be suitable for use in all settings and contexts. They were not designed to be useful for helping people born in Asia who are now living elsewhere (for example, those who have migrated to western countries).

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Guidelines for organisations: Helping employees successfully return to work following depression, anxiety or a related mental health problem


These guidelines consist of actions organisations can take to facilitate return to work for employees following an episode of depression, anxiety or a related disorder. They were produced using the Delphi method, which is a systematic way of assessing the consensus of a panel of experts. The actions have been rated as important or essential by expert panels of consumers, employers and health professionals. It is hoped that the guidelines will be used to improve the practices of organisations as they support those returning to work after mental health problems.

More info about this project at: www.returntowork.workplace-mentalhealth.net.au

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Guidelines for Organisations: Workplace Prevention of Mental Health Problems

Download Workplace Prevention of Mental Health Problems Guidelines 2013 (1.36 MB)
These guidelines consist of actions organisations can take to prevent common mental health problems in the workplace. It is hoped that they will be used to improve the practices of organisations as they work to reduce the risk of job stress and mental health problems in the workplace. The guidelines are intended to complement existing legislative requirements for occupational health and safety and the prevention and management of discrimination and harassment. They were produced using the Delphi method, which is a systematic way of assessing the consensus of a panel of experts. The actions included in the guidelines have been rated as important or essential by expert panels of employers, mental health professionals and employees with experience of mental health problems.

More info about this project at: www.prevention.workplace-mentalhealth.net.au

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Guidelines for Financial Counsellors

Guidelines for Financial Counsellors

Download Guidelines for Financial Counsellors (346.38 KB)
These guidelines are about how a financial counsellor can support a person who is experiencing mental health problems and financial difficulties. The guidelines are based on the expert consensus of panels of Australian financial counsellors, financial institution staff, mental health professionals, mental health consumers and carers.

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Guidelines for Carers of someone with a Mental Illness

Guidelines for Carers of someone with a Mental Illness

Download Carers Guidelines 2011 (427.74 KB)
If you are a family member, partner or friend who is 18 years or over and a primary source of support for a person with mental illness, this guide was designed for you. It involves information and suggestions about how you can help a person with mental illness who is 18 years or over (there are additional considerations when caring for children and adolescents) and ways to cope with the personal impact of the illness and to take care of yourself. The information in this guide is most suitable for people who are caring for someone who has a mental illness which is severe, chronic, treatment resistant or very recurrent. The information and suggestions in this guide resulted from a study that combined the latest research with the opinions and consensus of international panels of caregivers, people with bipolar disorder, clinicians and researchers, all with experience and expertise in dealing with bipolar disorder. The guidelines were analysed and the most general advice was used to create these general guidelines. Although the guidelines are copyrighted, you can freely reproduce it for non-profit purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

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Guidelines for tertiary institutions to facilitate improved educational outcomes for students with a mental illness

Guidelines for Tertiary Institutions

Download Tertiary Institutions Guidelines 2011 (305.01 KB)
These guidelines consist of actions tertiary education institutions can take to facilitate improved educational outcomes for students with a mental illness, produced using the Delphi method. It is hoped that the guidelines will be used to improve the advice to tertiary institutions as they support students with a mental illness. Although the guidelines are copyright, you can freely reproduce it for non-profit purposes provided the source is acknowledged.

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Guidelines for Parenting Strategies to Prevent Adolescent Alcohol, Depression and Anxiety Problems

Parenting Guidelines
 Prevention of Depression and Anxiety

Download Parenting Guidelines from the Parenting Strategies website
These guidelines consist of strategies which parents can undertaken to help prevent alcohol, depression and anxiety problems in their teenagers. Although the guidelines are copyright, you can freely reproduce it for non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.

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