Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To gain an understanding of Mental First Aid and consider scenarios where you may need to apply it in the clinical setting

Mental Health First Aid

Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves (Kitchener & Jorm, 2002, p. 10). The plan looks like this:


mental health first aid                       

Retrieved from:


Mental health first aid strategies are taught in training programs developed by Mental Health First Aid TM (MHFA) Australia, a national non-profit health promotion charity focused on training and research (Mental Health First Aid, 2013). Clinical educators have found this a helpful tool for students to have in preparation for Mental Health clinical placements.  The standard course runs for 12 hours with a registration fee applicable.  There are specialised courses for working with clients from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, non-English speaking background and youth.  There is also a training manual, which can be purchased.  Check with your clinical supervisor to see if they have a copy.

If the course is out of reach, try their list of guidelines for each mental health condition.  These provide useful tips on how to be of assistance if you think someone may be experiencing a mental health issue.  They have a set of guidelines for depression, panic, drinking problems, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, non-suicidal self-harm, psychosis, traumatic events, problem substance use and problem drinking use.

In addition, there are specific guidelines for clients from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island backgrounds, Asian countries, supporting carers of a person with mental illness and working with mental illness within organisations.

(Note:  Students will need to join as a ClinEdAus member to access and log the guided reflection activities.)


  • Kitchener B. & Jorm, A. (2002). Mental health first aid training for the public: evaluation of effects on knowledge, attitudes and helping behaviour. BMcC Psychiatry, 2: 10.
  • Mental Health First Aid (2013). Retrieved from
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