By Nathan Harradine-Hale

Why you should know about Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

15 May 2019

Mental health issues are still being dismissed in our communities and workplaces, but approximately 20% of Australian adults experience a common mental illness each year (1).

"Having Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) skills means that you can assist someone developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis, and make a real difference to your community" - MHFA Australia

MHFA is not commonly associated with first aid, but is an equally important form of emergency assistance. With 1 in 5 Australians experiencing a mental illness in their lifetime, early care and noticing symptoms can lead to better mental health outcomes.

We've found some research-backed answers to commonly asked questions around MHFA:

Why should I do the course?

People are at the core of everything we do as humans. MHFA teaches individuals how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental illness. During this course, you'll also learn how to de-escalate a situation of someone in crisis, and how to refer them to professional help if necessary.

Who can I help by doing this course?

A MHFA officer can help people experiencing the following (2):

  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Gambling
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Panic attacks
  • Traumatic stress
  • Aggressive behaviours

During MHFA, you'll often be given scenarios where you use an action plan to assist in those situations. Upon completion, you'll feel the confidence to ask someone if they're ok and feel empathetic towards those experiencing mental illness. (2)

Having a MHFA will not teach you how to diagnose or treat mental illness, any more than a first aid course teaches you to diagnose physical illness. However, you will learn how to get someone help if they need it.

How and where can I do a MHFA?

CIT Solutions offers a Mental Health First Aid course at our Bruce campus. This two-day intensive course is open to all members of the community (18 years and over). You can also search for either a face-to-face, refresher or online course through MHFA Australia.

Aiding in a mental illness takes time, patience and help from loved ones and the community. You're not a superhero, but from doing this course you'll be the first aider to someone who desperately needs it.

Have you been trained in MHFA? If not, or if you were after a refresher, CIT Solutions offers a two-day workshop. Find out more, and to enrol click here.


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