In this update we take a closer look at some of the key days that occur during the month of March. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down with five truly amazing women to explore the link between women’s well-being and happiness. We also showcase Fernwood Fitness Clubs and acknowledge and congratulate their commitment to a holistic approach to female health and wellbeing.

In recognition of World Bi-Polar Day we take a closer look at this often-misunderstood mental illness that affects as many as 1 in 50 Australians each year. Finally, we round-off our second update with a pre-recorded presentation that looks at Mental Health First Aid Australia, the courses we offer and what it means to be an MHFAider. If you’ve been thinking of MHFA training – this is the video for you!

We hope you enjoy our second Friends of MHFA Update.


‘Women, wellbeing and the pursuit of happiness’

In Australia, as many as 1 in 3 women will experience struggles with mental health at some point in their life. The prevalence of these concerns means that you will likely know family, friends and co-workers who are experiencing such challenges. Do you know how to help them? You may also be experiencing some of these issues yourself. Do you know where to find support?

The incidence of depression, anxiety, and conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and issues with body image, non-suicidal self-harm and eating disorders, disproportionately affect women. Understanding these conditions and having the skills and confidence to respond is key.

This March, to coincide with International Women’s Day and International Happiness Day, we have developed an article exploring the mental health and happiness of women in Australia. We have also interviewed five women working in mental health on the topic of happiness.

Read our article and interviews to find out more.


Fernwood Fitness
Stepping into women’s mental health
and fitness

This month, to celebrate International Women’s Day, we’d like to acknowledge and congratulate Fernwood Fitness Clubs on their commitment to a holistic approach to female physical health and wellbeing.

Founded more than 30 years ago, Fernwood now operate close to 70 health and wellness clubs with more than 70,000 members Australia-wide. Their goal is to empower women to shine, by giving them the confidence they need to succeed in all they do. This goal saw Fernwood introduce a new wellness program ‘Empower’ which includes topics such as stress management, goal setting and sleep health. 

The team at Fernwood knew that in order to successfully deliver a program grounded in mental wellbeing, coaching staff needed the skills and confidence to identify and support members who may be experiencing a mental health problem.

That’s how the relationship between MHFA and Fernwood was first formed. Now, 3 years on, over 300 staff have completed MHFA training.

Read more about Fernwood Fitness Clubs and the positive impact of integrating MHFA training into holistic wellbeing and organisational practices.


Stop! Misunderstanding bipolar disorder

We get it, mental illness can be confronting and difficult to discuss. It can be even harder to know how to recognise signs and support someone experiencing symptoms or troubled times. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness often misunderstood, yet it impacts as many as 1 in 50 Australians each year.

For someone with bipolar disorder, the day-to-day challenges of managing their symptoms and environment can significantly impact their relationships, work and social participation. It can also impede day-to-day living and self-care. On top of this, stigma can prevent people from getting the care they need or from living life to their full potential. These people may be our family, friends, colleagues or members of community. We can respond with empathy, understanding and care.

Bipolar disorder is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The good news is, that with the right treatments, a person experiencing bipolar disorder can lead a full and productive life – with valuable contributions to their families, workplaces and communities.

Learn more on how to support someone with bipolar disorder.

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 help provide the skills 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 learn when and how to access professional help.

View our pre-recorded presentation that looks at Mental Health First Aid Australia, the courses we offer and what it means to be an MHFAider.

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