Since its inception in 2000, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) has evolved into a global movement across Australia and in over 27 countries. The MHFA program has been adapted for use in other countries and rigorous evaluations have contributed to its international uptake. To date, over 3 million people worldwide have been trained, including over 800,000 Australians.
In 2000, in order to improve the level of mental health literacy of the community, a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course was developed by husband and wife team Betty Kitchener AM and Professor Tony Jorm, following the model that has been successfully applied in many countries with conventional first aid. Since this time, MHFA training has spread to every state and territory in Australia and internationally, currently to over 25 countries (more info on international MHFA Programs).
The founders of MHFA hope that MHFA becomes a mandatory certification for certain professions and roles, as physical first aid is. This will ensure that the skills to assist people with mental health problems will spread beyond mental health professionals, and that the program will fulfil its aim of contributing towards improved support, early detection and treatment of mental health problems and reducing the stigma attached to mental illness.