Authors: Betty Kitchener
Event: 2015 TheMHS Conference
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses train members of the public in how to assist a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. From small beginnings 15 years ago in Canberra, the MHFA Program has spread across Australia but internationally. Over 2% of the adult Australian population has attended a MHFA course and it has been disseminated to 23 countries. Sometime this year, it is estimated that the 1 millionth person will attend a MHFA course.
The MHFA courses have a strong evidence-base:
1. In recognition, the US Govt Service SAMHSA has included the MHFA Program in its prestigious Register of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
2. To determine what actions are likely to be positive and supportive, Delphi expert consensus studies have been carried out across English speaking developed countries to develop a range of mental health first aid guidelines to inform the course curriculum.
3. A recent meta-analysis of 15 MHFA studies concluded that: "The results demonstrate that MHFA increases participants' knowledge regarding mental health, decreases their negative attitudes, and increases supportive behaviours toward individuals with mental health problems."