The Standard Mental Health First Aid (SMHFA) course teaches people mental health first aid skills. Like physical first aid, the SMHFA course teaches a practical Action Plan, ALGEE, to guide the support provided. SMHFA is complementary to other workplace mental health training programs that are aimed at building awareness of mental health problems in the workplace. It differs from most of these programs with its focus on equipping employees with the knowledge, skills and confidence to provide appropriate support to others who may be experiencing mental health problems.
Completing an SMHFA course helps staff to develop the skills to support a co-worker, friend or family member. The skills are transferable to all sorts of situations, so can have a positive impact both within the workplace and in the broader community.
It has been shown that SMHFA training is associated with:
- Improved knowledge of mental illnesses, their treatments and appropriate first aid strategies.
- Confidence in providing first aid to a person experiencing a mental health problem.
- Decreases in stigmatising attitudes.
- Increases in the amount and type of support.
Course content is derived from several studies incorporating the expertise of hundreds of researchers, clinicians, mental health consumer advocates and carer advocates across the English-speaking western world.
SMHFA 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 risk factors for these mental health problems.
- Awareness of the evidenced based medical, psychological, and alternative treatments available.
- Skills in how to provide appropriate initial help and support someone experiencing a mental health problem.
- Skills in how to take appropriate action if a crisis arises involving suicidal behaviour, panic attack, stress reaction to trauma, overdose or threatening psychotic behaviour.
SMHFA courses are open to all members of the community, aged 18 years and above. This includes security officers, 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, rehabilitation counsellors and anyone in a team leader/management role.