Mental Health First Aid Courses

3 August 2021

With one in five Australians experiencing a mental illness every year, and COVID amplifying the stresses of life even further, the need for education and training around mental health is more important than ever.

Mental health first aid courses offer people the tools to help colleagues, friends and family members, who are developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. A range of training options are available for appointed mental health champions within practice, helping to raise awareness, knowledge and confidence.

Mental Health First Aid Australia

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia has been offering training courses since 2000, when they were first developed by husband and wife team Betty Kitchener AM and Professor Tony Jorm. The national not-for-profit health promotion charity focuses on mental health training and research, and runs courses in every state and territory.

MHFA has more than 2000 accredited MHFA instructors who deliver courses, including the standard 12-hour MHFA course (online, face-to-face or a combination of both), plus a range of courses targeted at teens, older people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Course fees differ depending on the course location and experience of the instructor, who is trained by MHFA but operates the course independently. However, the two-day course tends to cost anywhere from $200 to $350.

The cost of the eLearning course (Course Component 1) is $88 and is available for purchase directly through the MHFA Australia website or can be purchased via an accredited MHFA Instructor as part of a total course price. The eLearning course component price includes a hard copy MHFA Standard Course Manual.

Red Cross Australia

The Red Cross also offers a number of mental health courses, ranging from short 1.5-hour information sessions to two-day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses. The short course serves as an introduction to mental health matters and is designed to give participants a basic understanding of how to support someone who is experiencing mental health difficulties. The longer two-day MHFA is delivered under the authority of Mental Health First Aid Australia (above), by MHFA-accredited instructors.

St John’s Ambulance

St John’s Ambulance has been a provider of First Aid services in Australia for more than 137 years. St John’s Mental Health and Crisis Support course is delivered by in-house trainers and the price for virtual delivery is $245 and face-to-face $255. The face-to-face version is one full day in the classroom with an additional one-hour pre eLearning. The virtual course is one full day via the virtual classroom with an additional one-hour pre eLearning.

It is also possible to arrange for a St John’s trainer to provide onsite training for workplaces or community groups, which can prove to be a convenient and flexible training.
Another option is the 3.5-hour Mental Health and Wellbeing Essentials Workshop ($125), which is available to anyone who is interested in learning prevention skills and strategies.

“Mental Health Training not only provides people with essential skills and confidence to recognise and support people with a range of mental health issues, it will increase their mental health literacy and make it okay to talk about mental health in the same way they would talk about physical health.

After all, our mental and physical health are closely linked, and we believe this extends to first aid. Increasingly, we recommend that those who are looking to complete physical first aid training also consider adding an element of mental health training, as it will help them become a more well-rounded and confident first aider.”– St John’s