FRIENDS OF
MHFA UPDATE

Welcome to the first Friends of MHFA update. We are grateful for your ongoing interest and look forward to providing you with updates and opportunities.

The fact that you have expressed an interest in MHFA, shows us that you place a value on the mental health, and wellbeing of those around you. This is always important, but after the challenges of 2020, dare we say that it’s more important than ever for us to stay connected and show support for others.

Each new year represents a chance to reset, evaluate and define our goals. This is true for individuals and organisations alike. People frequently make resolutions around health and fitness, career, finances and social aspirations. We think it’s just as important to factor in mental health.

In 2020, MHFA had to adapt with the global pandemic by taking our program digital. This enabled new reach and flexible training. As we look forward, we see great potential to engage people in a global movement of community care that can positively change and save lives. Sadly, we also see the increasing need, as people struggle with heightened levels of distress and trauma, alongside high rates of mental ill health and suicide.

This is where our friends come in, because you represent a part of the positive change we hope to see in local communities and workplaces across Australia. You’ll receive this update every two months. We will feature news, stories and interviews of interest from Instructors, community groups, workplaces, and individuals, so that you can see the real difference that our training makes.

Perhaps part of your resolution can be to take care of your own mental health, and to consider how you might engage with MHFA to support others. We trust that you will enjoy reading these updates, and we always welcome your fee.

MHFA COMMUNITY UPDATE

THE COUNTRY FIRE AUTHORITY (CFA)

Protecting the wellbeing of those who protect others

The Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) is a volunteer fire and emergency services organisation, that works to keep Victorians safe from fire and other emergencies. CFA has been delivering Mental Health First Aid training to their staff and volunteers since 2019 as part of a broader mental health literacy program, aiming to reduce mental health stigma across the organisation and foster a culture of openness, care and wellness.

To celebrate the incredible work of CFA, and to acknowledge the anniversary of the catastrophic 2019-2020 bushfires, Acting Community Engagement Manager Erin Healy sat down with CFA Wellbeing Consultant and MHFA Instructor Naomi Engelke, to learn more about CFA’s mission to deliver Mental Health First Aid training to both staff and volunteers across Victoria, and to hear about Naomi’s experience as an MHFA Instructor.

Watch the video below to hear Naomi’s words of encouragement to anyone who may be considering enrolling in an MHFA course.

To find out more about CFA’s range of wellbeing support services visit https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/health-and-wellbeing

Click to read the full CFA Case Study or view the other videos from our
CFA conversation series.

MHFA WORKPLACE UPDATE

‘Getting on with it’
Will your workplace be mentally healthy in 2021?

As we return to work, school and home routines for 2021, it is normal for us to question what this year will bring – given the challenges the world has been experiencing. With the pandemic far from over and incremental shifts towards new ways of operating, it is important for us to maintain mentally healthy workplaces. This includes having an awareness of work-life balance, creating positive cultures and supporting staff when problems arise.

Early modelling suggests that COVID-19 will have significant impacts on the rates and severity of suicide risk, mental ill health and other stressors. Workplaces can play a role in reducing the stress placed on employees, and building protective factors that can lead to happier, healthier and safer staff. This in turn benefits productivity and bottom lines. Every workplace should consider mental health as part of their broader wellbeing and safety strategy. If you haven’t already planned to do this, now is the time. It also pays to revisit your strategy from time to time.

Changing work conditions and environments can cause challenges, but can also present new opportunities for flexibility and innovation. To respond to this, we have written an article to guide workplaces and employers through issues such as: returning to work; providing flexible work arrangements; maintaining positive culture; and engaging in mental health first aid programs. Included, is a handy check list for achieving mentally healthy workplaces in 2021. You can read more here>

What will you learn on a Mental Health First Aid Course? 

Understanding how to talk about mental health and help someone in need is an important skill. Many people feel uncomfortable and unprepared when thinking about starting a conversation with someone they are concerned about.

Mental Health First Aid courses teach people the skills to feel confident about what to do when they are concerned that someone they care about may have a mental health problem.

At an MHFA course, you will learn how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems or a crisis such as thoughts of suicide. You’ll gain the confidence to give the most effective support you can and when and how to access professional help. You’ll also learn about the sorts of treatments which have been shown by research to be the most effective, and how to access these.

Copyright © MHFA Australia 2022