Developed in 2001 by Betty Kitchener AM and Professor Tony Jorm, Mental Health First Aid Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation focused on mental health training and research.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid Course is for adults working or living with adolescents, those aged between approximately 12 and 18 years. However, the course can be relevant for those helping people who are a little younger or older. This course is particularly suitable for parents, teachers, sports coaches, and youth workers.

Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person who is developing a mental health problem, or who is in a mental health crisis, until appropriate professional treatment is received or the crisis resolves.

What the course covers:

The course teaches adults how to assist adolescents who are developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. Course participants learn about adolescent development, the signs and symptoms of the common and disabling mental health problems in young people, where and how to get help when a young person is developing a mental illness, what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective, and how to provide first aid in a crisis situation.

Developing mental health problems covered are:

  • – Depression
  • – Anxiety problems
  • – Psychosis
  • – Substance use problems
  • – Eating disorders

Mental health crisis situations covered:

  • – Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
  • – Non-suicidal self-injury (sometimes called deliberate self-harm)
  • – Panic attacks
  • – Traumatic events
  • – Severe effects of drug or alcohol use
  • – Severe psychotic states
  • – Aggressive behaviours

The MHFA Action Plan ALGEE®

The MHFA courses teach you how to give mental health first aid using the Action Plan. The MHFA Australia mascot, ALGEE the koala, is named after the Action Plan

What do MHFA Course Participants Learn?

MHFA courses teach mental health first aid strategies to members of the public. Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person who is developing a mental health problem, or in a mental health-related crisis, until appropriate professional treatment is received or the crisis resolves. Course content is derived from a number of consensus studies incorporating the expertise of hundreds of researchers, clinicians, mental health consumer advocates and carer advocates across the English speaking western world. MHFA courses can provide members of the community with:

  • Skills in how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems;
  • Knowledge of the possible causes or risk factors for these mental health problems;
  • Awareness of the evidenced based medical, psychological and alternative treatments available;
  • Skills in how to give appropriate initial help and support someone experiencing a mental health problem;
  • Skills in how to take appropriate action if a crisis situation arises involving suicidal behaviour, panic attack, stress reaction to trauma, overdose or threatening psychotic behaviour.

Who Should Attend a MHFA Course?

MHFA courses are open to all members of the community, so the short answer is, everyone aged 18 years and above. In particular, it is recommended that MHFA becomes a prerequisite for all employed in human services. This includes police officers, prison officers, high school teachers, TAFE and university lecturers, social and welfare workers, youth workers, Aboriginal health workers, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, lawyers, dieticians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, security officers, rehabilitation counsellors and anyone in a team leader/management role.

Course Format

This is a 14 hour course, which can be delivered as either:

  • A 2 consecutive day training package (7 hours per day), OR
  • As 4 Separate modules (3.5 hours each)

Youth MHFA Manual

Course participants receive a copy of the Youth MHFA 158 page glossy manual to keep and a Certificate of Completion is issued.

This 2 day workshop can be held for your staff at your workplace, or you can send staff to a scheduled workshop. All enquiries or expression of interest can be directed to our senior trainer, Sandra Willie by email or telephone: (07)3117 2455 or email: