Authors: ORYGEN Research Centre, University of Melbourne
Event: 2007 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: VIC
Award level: Winner
Award category: Mental Health Promotion or Mental Illness Prevention Program or Project
Abstract: The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training and Research Program offers a 12-hour training course designed to teach members of the public how to provide initial help to someone developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis situation. The course covers first aid for the disorders of depression, anxiety, psychosis and substance misuse and for the crises situations of suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, exposure to traumatic events, behaviour which is perceived as threatening and overdose. The course has spread across Australia and to seven other countries. Specialized versions of the course have been developed for assisting youth, culturally and linguistically diverse people, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The effectiveness of the course has been demonstrated in a range of studies. Description of Facility/Organisation: Betty Kitchener and Professor Tony Jorm began the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training and Research Program in mid-2000 to increase the mental health literacy of the Canberra community. Since April 2005, the Program has been auspiced by the ORYGEN Research Centre, the University of Melbourne. The MHFA Program currently has 9 staff. Betty Kitchener is the Training Director. Professor Tony Jorm is the Scientific Director. There are two Trainers of the Aboriginal MHFA (AMHFA) Program, one Trainer of the Youth MHFA (YMHFA) Program, two administration officers and two researchers. Over 500 MHFA instructors, spread across every state and territory of Australia, are employed by local organizations or run MHFA courses on a private basis. This Program is now approaching being self sustaining, using fees obtained from its Instructor Training courses and several grants. Two Commonwealth grants from the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and one grant from OATSIH have aided the development of the CALD, Youth and Aboriginal MHFA Programs. A research grant from NSW Health and an ARC linkage grant have been awarded for evaluation of some of these MHFA programs. A grant from the Rotary Health Research Fund is contributing to the development of National Guidelines for MHFA.