Whilst people often know a lot about common physical health problems, there is widespread ignorance of mental health. Regular first aid courses are recognised as improving the public's skills in giving initial and appropriate help at medical emergencies but, unfortunately, most of these courses do not address helping with mental health problems. However, mental health problems are common. In Australia, approximately one in five adults will experience mental illness in any given year. In light of this, all members of the community can expect to have close contact with someone experiencing a mental illness.
Lack of knowledge and stigmatising attitudes about mental illness may prevent people from seeking help early, seeking the best sort of help and also providing appropriate support to colleagues and family members, simply because they do not know how.
In order to improve the level of mental health literacy of the community, a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course was developed and conducted by MHFA Australia, following the model that has been successfully applied in many countries with conventional first aid. A number of studies have indicated that MHFA training can be effective in reducing stigmatising attitudes, increasing willingness and confidence providing help to others, and more evidence-based assistance provided.
The MHFA Program has spread rapidly within Australia, with over 1,000 accredited MHFA Instructors running courses in every state and territory in workplaces, communities and education institutions. To date, more than 200,000 adults have completed MHFA course in Australia.
Whilst the rapid growth of MHFA is inspiring and very encouraging, we still have a long way to go until MHFA becomes a mandatory certification for certain professions and roles, as physical first aid is. The main success of the effectiveness and spread of the MHFA Program is due to the large amount of voluntary time and financial contribution given by the creators, Betty Kitchener and Tony Jorm and also to the exceptional hard work of the small team of staff members.
For this good program to be self-sustaining, it needs a source of steady funding. Donations from the public help MHFA Australia continue to develop new programs and resources such as the teen Mental Health First Aid program, as well as supporting ongoing operational costs.
Are donations tax deductible?
Will I receive a receipt for my donation?
Yes, immediately sent to you by email when approved.
Donate to Mental Health First Aid