Authors: Sharon Thomas-Parks
Event: 2015 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Mental Health First-Aid Today & Tomorrow
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an international program proven to be effective. Peer-reviewed studies published in Australia, where the program originated, show that individuals trained in the program:
- Grow their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions
- Can identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction
- Increase their confidence in and likelihood to help an individual in distress
- Show increased mental wellness themselves
Studies also show that the program reduces social distance created by negative attitudes and perceptions of individuals with mental illnesses.
Mental Health First Aid was developed Australia in 2001 by Betty Kitchener and Professor Tony Jorm. It was implemented in the United States in 2008. Since then, MHFA has trained over 9,000 instructors who have trained more than 350,000 people. New modules have been developed specifically focused on law enforcement, military members, veterans and their families and higher education. Mental Health First Aid has become America’s leading public health education response to mental illness. MHFA is increasing the public’s understanding of mental illness and willingness to assist those in distress.