May 2016

In this issue: 

New MHFA Training Courses

MHFA for Tertiary Students Blended Course

Now available!

There are a number of reasons why tertiary students need to learn mental health first aid skills. Many students are in the age group of increased risk of mental health problems, students with mental health problems are less likely to complete their studies and students are in a good position to offer help to their peers.
This new Blended MHFA Course teaches tertiary students studying at University or TAFE how to assist a peer who is developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis, using case-studies, videos and resources tailored to their learning needs.
The course is completed in a blended format, combining an eLearning session plus a follow-up face-to-face group session. The cost for the eLearning component is $50.00. This component is self-paced, completed entirely online and takes about 6-8 hours to complete. The MHFA Instructor sets the fee for 4-hour face-to-face session.

New short course coming soon!

MHFA for the Suicidal Person

There has been a high demand for shorter MHFA courses. It is not possible to deliver the wealth of knowledge and skills in our 12-14 hour courses in any less time. However, we will be providing half-day courses on specific mental health issues, such as suicide, non-suicidal self-injury, and eating disorders.

Our first short MHFA course will be MHFA for the Suicidal Person, teaching how to provide mental health first aid to someone experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Piloting of this course is due to start in mid June. The course is based on our revised MHFA Guidelines. 

Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplaces Initiative now more accessible for larger workplaces

We recently re-structured our Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplaces Initiative to make it more accessible to and inclusive of workplaces with varying sizes.

To be eligible to apply for Bronze, Silver or Gold recognition, your workplace must maintain a certain percentage of staff with a current MHFA certificate (one that has been issued within the last 3 years from date of application). The percentage varies according to the workplace size.

Read more and apply now! 

Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplaces
since December 2015

An update on workplaces that have been recognised since December 2015.

View all our Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplaces here

Case Study: Emergency Services embrace MHFA 

Above: Thera Storie Head of HR, Stephen Dowling Corporate Manager Health Safety and Wellness (MHFA Instructor), Andrea Johnston, Fabienne Morgana, Emma Broughton Call-Takers, Dispatchers and recent MHFA Graduands together with Julia Oxley Chief Executive Officer.

The team at MHFA Australia loves hearing stories on how workplaces are embedding MHFA training into their workplace mental health strategies. Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), who provide Victoria’s 24-hour emergency call-taking and dispatch services for police, fire, ambulance and VICSES, are using MHFA as a key component of their welfare and wellness program - ‘ESTA Live. Work – Be Well’.

The course, initially trialled with a range of managers, supervisors, call-takers and dispatchers, provides participants with the skills and knowledge required to support, recognise or assist a co-worker who maybe experiencing mental health issues. MHFA is providing ESTA people with the skills to strengthen their individual and team resilience in learning to care for each other as they deliver care to others. Over 50 ESTA staff have undertaken the Blended MHFA Course for White-Collar Workplaces so far.

Says Stephen Dowling, MHFA Instructor, “When we set off on this journey in October 2015, our aim was to reach 10% of our workforce having MHFA skills by December 2016… we will surpass this mark by end May… seven months ahead of schedule. With early onset of fire season in October and major Community events across Victoria during Nov, Dec, and Jan impacting emergency services this is quite a commitment from our people and our leaders.”

Mental Health First Aid Officers in the Workplace

Attendees at a Mental Health First Aid course now have the same opportunity as an attendee at a regular First Aid course to become an accredited MHFAider for 3 years, after passing an online assessment.  

We believe every workplace needs both First Aid Officers and Mental Health First Aid Officers.  A Mental Health First Aid Officer is an Accredited Mental Health First Aider appointed in their workplace to:
  • Provide mental health first aid within their worksite as needed, at their level of competence and training.
  • Escalate any matters if required in a prompt and appropriate fashion according to their relevant organisational policy and procedures

Here is your guide to implementing Mental Health First Aid in your workplace, including a free template policy.

Find out why MHFA is suitable workplace training and what training options are available.

Research and Evaluation

New Guidelines for helping a co-worker or employee 

These guidelines cover how a worker should tailor their approach when providing mental health first aid to a co-worker or employee they manage. The guidelines were developed using the Delphi method, a systematic way of assessing the consensus of experts on a topic. The experts involved were consumers, managers and workplace mental health professionals from developed English-speaking countries.

These guidelines provide guidance on when and how to approach a co-worker who may be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis, listening and communicating non-judgmentally, providing support and information, and how to respond in crisis situations like acute distress and intoxication at work. There are also additional strategies to consider if the first aider is the person’s manager, such as managing performance.

New Guidelines for helping a confused older person 

Also using the Delphi method, expert consensus guidelines are now available to guide family and non-professional carers when assisting an older person who is confused, or has dementia or delirium.
  • View the Guidelines here
  • These guidelines are helping to inform our MHFA for the Older Person Course, currently in development.

Seeking experts on gambling problems in Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Communities

With funding from the Australian Government, MHFA Australia is conducting a study using the Delphi method to develop guidelines for assisting an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who has gambling problems.
Do you have professional or research experience in this area?
If you are interested or for more information, please email
Kathy Bond or call 03 9079 0207.

We’re recruiting - Program Coordinator Position Available  

We are now recruiting for a full-time Program Coordinator to join our administrative team to coordinate Instructor Training for the soon to be launched MHFA for the Older Person Course. Reporting to the Deputy CEO, the successful applicant will have high level customer service and communication skills, competence in Mac OS X, an ability to work under pressure with a bright, enthusiastic personality, and a can-do attitude who enjoys working with a small friendly team.
More info

2016 Instructor Training

Do you have experience in mental health and training? Apply to become an Instructor! 

View our current Instructor Training Course calendar. 

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