About the Program: Background
Mental Health First Aid was created by Professor Anthony Jorm, a respected mental health literacy professor, and Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education. The Mental Health First Aid Program is conducted in Australia by Mental Health First Aid TM (MHFA) Australia, a national non-profit health promotion charity focused on training and research. More information about MHFA Australia here: www.mhfa.com.au.
The National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health worked with the program’s founders to bring Mental Health First Aid to the U.S.
Mental Health First Aid has a strong evidence base. Four detailed studies have been completed and nearly a dozen journal articles published on Mental Health First Aid impact on the public. One trial of 301 randomized participants found that those who trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, improved concordance with health professionals about treatments, and decreased stigmatizing attitudes. The study also found that Mental Health First Aid improved the mental health of the participants themselves. Findings from the other studies have echoed these outcomes.
To date, Mental Health First Aid has been replicated in 19 countries, including: England, Scotland, Finland, Canada, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Wales and Singapore. In the US, we truly value the supporting evidence and strive to achieve fidelity to the original Mental Health First Aid program developed in Australia. In the next decade, we expect Mental Health First Aid in the US will become as common as CPR and First Aid. It has the potential to reduce stigma, improve mental health literacy, and empower individuals – the benefits are limitless!