Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a course offered in Australia that aims to educate individuals on how to provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The course covers a range of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety and psychosis, as well as topics such as suicide prevention and substance use problems.
MHFA courses are designed to be interactive and are typically delivered over the course of two days by trained MHFA instructors. Participants learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and how to provide initial support to someone who may be experiencing a dip in their mental health or a mental health crisis. This includes learning how to have a conversation with someone about their mental health, how to provide support and information and how to refer them to appropriate professional help.
The course also covers how to provide support to someone who is in a crisis situation, such as a person experiencing suicidal thoughts or a panic attack. Participants learn how to stay calm and provide practical assistance, as well as learn how to connect the person to professional help.
MHFA courses are open to anyone and are particularly useful for people who work in roles where they may come into contact with those experiencing mental health problems such as teachers, healthcare professionals and emergency services workers.
The MHFA program is recognised and supported by the Australian government and various organizations including Siren Training and the Mental Health Council of Australia. The course is based on international evidence and guidelines and updated regularly to reflect the latest knowledge in the field.
Overall the Mental Health First Aid course in Australia is valuable training for anyone who wants to learn how to support someone experiencing mental health problems and how to help them get the professional help they need.
All of our MHFA courses are delivered by MHFA Australia-certified instructors. All participants who complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion or a Certificate of Accreditation if they pass a short quiz at the end of the course. Both are valid for 3 years.
MHFA Australia celebrates companies who invest in their employees’ mental health through their Workplace Recognition Program. The program highlights their success in including MHFA practices into their company culture where employees are encouraged to speak openly on the subject of mental health.
The programme consists of 3 recognition tiers – Skilled, Advanced and Master, rewarding:
support from senior leadership
supporting Mental Health First Aid Officers
policies and procedures that champion mental health at work
Assessment is determined using the percentage of staff who have been trained within the previous three years, the inclusion of the abovementioned actions and the length of time in which these actions have been implemented as outlined below:
Small Workplace 5–50 staff 20% of staff trained
Medium Workplace 51–500 staff 10% of staff trained
Large Workplace 501–1,500 staff 5% of staff trained
Very Large Workplace 1,501 and over 3% of staff trained
It is very important to understand that after course completion you will not become a therapist or psychology professional. You will not be able to treat anyone who has ill mental health.
Instead, your role is simply a supportive one, like the title suggests, you will be the first contact to those who possibly could have mental health related issues. You can wear a special mental health first aider badge or lanyard. So people at your workplace could recognise and approach you if they need your help as a mental health first aider.
On the course, you will be taught how to give mental health first aid for different conditions like depression, self-harm, psychosis, suicidal crisis, anxiety disorder, etc. You will be equipped with a strategy and action plan called ALGEE.
The ALGEE plan acronym stands for
Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis
Listen and communicate non-judgmentally
Give support and information
Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
Encourage other support
Remember your own mental health is always the priority. You choose to be a mental health first aider voluntarily. If at any given time you feel that it can affect your own mental comfort and you don’t feel like supporting others, consider stepping down from a mental health first aider role.
MHFA Australia is the only one accredited body in Australia. MHFA Australia have created mental health first aid training and various companies, including Siren, are providing the MHFA Australia courses. The 2-day mental health first aid course qualifies you as mental health first aider. The training teaches how to spot symptoms and signs of ill mental health. You will feel more confident to approach and support someone in need while keeping yourself safe.
If you want to become a mental health first aider you need to take a 2-day MHFA course (can be delivered over 4 days). You can choose an online course or face to face. Regardless of which option you choose you will receive the same certificate.
When you book the course with Siren we will send you joining instructions.
The first thing you need to do is to register with MHFA Australia. It will allow us to send books on time and certificate after course completion.
Also, we will provide you with the Online Learning Hub access where you will be able to complete your activities – read, watch the video, answer questions etc.
You will meet your instructor 4 times, the live sessions with your trainer last 2 -2.5 hours.
And lastly, after self-directed learning and 4 online sessions you will receive an email from MHFA Australia, you will need to fill a short feedback form and in the end, you will be able to download your certificate.
We are all human beings before we are workers, and all of us have both physical and mental health. We know what can cause physical illness but we are not always aware of the reasons behind ill mental health. And when we see someone suffering mental health ill very often we don’t have right words or right actions to take, especially, in the workplace. It is very important that all staff are aware of how to take care of their own mental health, as well as know how to support each other.
Positive mental health in the workplace not only helps your business goals, but also improves employee satisfaction and retention. Any mental health first aid courses can improve wellbeing in the workplace. We highly recommend anyone interested in becoming a Mental Health First Aider attend the two day course, and implementing the one or half day course for all of the employees in the organisation. The course will raise mental health awareness, start conversations in your workplace and teach employees to support each other. Additionally, the course will help you create an action plan for a positive climate in the workplace.
Recovering from mental ill health can vary amongst individuals, as does length of recovery. While some individuals respond quickly to treatment and recover quickly, recovery can often be episodic for others. Still others have a longer recovery journey which can involve medication, self-help, attending therapy. It is important for workplaces to support employees in their recovery, and the Mental Health First Aid courses are a great starting point to understand how to create inclusive environments for people in recovery.
All courses come with course materials a manual and a workbook. The books are helpful resources to refresh your knowledge as well as support your own mental health, both during and after the course. Books are included in the course price.
The prices above are for our public courses. If you want to book a group please send us a short enquiry and we get back to you in minutes. A group booking is up to 30% off per person.
It’s relatively easy to see the gaps we’ve been missing as a society, all generally aware of physical health. As such, it is good common sense to go to the doctor if you feel ill.
But where do you turn when you experience mental ill-health?
The most common answer is unfortunately not many places. Mental distress and mental ill-health are still steeped in stigma and discrimination, preventing people from getting the help they need. Achieving parity of esteem of physical and mental health is a fundamental step to creating a healthy, well-equipped society of workers and citizens. The current gaps here are clear, as we all have mental health as well as physical health. Why isn’t mental health equally as important as physical health? This is the question our society must respond to and a gap that MHFA training courses can address.
Incredulously, ill mental health can be so pervasive, yet it is not addressed level. Most individuals will experience ill mental health at some point in their lives. There are too many examples when lack of knowledge and skills around mental health end up tragically. A mental health first course can equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to step in and support at an early stage.