Reflections on 2021

2021 was undoubtedly not the year many of us had expected. This time last year, border restrictions were easing and most Australians were looking forward to a new year, a fresh start, and an end to many of the COVID-19 related pressures that we’d experienced throughout 2020.  Unfortunately, for much of Australia that was not the case, and the impacts of these extended lockdowns will have been experienced differently by every individual, every family, every household, every school, workplace, and community.

Mental Health First Aid® has certainly had to navigate many organisational challenges over the past two years. We have had to adapt, to be resilient, and to draw on the knowledge and skills learnt from our own training which has included self-care, supporting others and seeking support when it has been needed.

As we look forward to the start of another year, there is a sense of cautious optimism about a new, post-COVID normal, but we also acknowledge that for many of us there will be challenges associated with managing work, family, and personal pressures. At a time when people are reporting high levels of stress, distress, loneliness and anxiety about the future, your ability to offer support and to listen is more important than ever.

This December, myself and whole team at Mental Health First Aid Australia would like to wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday period and thank you for all you have done, and all you continue to do in your role as an MHFAider to support the well-being of your friends, family, co-workers, and community.

Thank you.

Shannon Anderson

Mental Health First Aid CEO


Let’s bust some myths about
mental health problems 

While we are undoubtedly getting better at talking about mental health in our homes, workplaces, schools and communities’, a concerning number of myths, misconceptions and fears surrounding mental health problems still exist. This can lead to stigma and other barriers that prevent people from getting the help they need. For people with mental health problems, it can also impact and minimise their social participation and reduce their quality of life.

We all have a role to play in changing the dialogue and educating ourselves on mental health is important. Statistically every single person in Australia will be impacted by mental health problems either personally or through someone they know, so it makes sense for us to be more open and educated about the topic.

In this latest article we tackle 6 common myths and misconceptions about mental health problems. Through positive conversations that promote facts and truth, and which dispel myths and misinformation, we can all be part of a positive change. 

The gift of conversation and
care this Christmas 

As the end of the year approaches and workplaces and schools start to wind down, and family and friends gather to celebrate in various ways, it’s important to remember that not everyone is looking forward to the holiday season. For some the festive season does not bring feelings of joy, cheerfulness, and a sense of belonging. Many find the festive season a time of heightened stress, sadness, anxiety, and even suicidal risk.

Conversations for the prevention and intervention of suicide are important for the approaching festive season. Learning to talk safely about suicide can be helpful to you and those around you and your words and actions can save a life.

So as 2021 draws to a close and we gear up for Christmas and New Year, we encourage you to stop and think about others and offer support to those around you who may be struggling.


What’s behind an MHFA conversation? 

We have recently added a new video scenario to our popular ‘Behind the Conversation’ resource page.

Sharing content from our courses, we look at a range of different scenarios and break down the steps and skills needed to have a successful mental health conversation with someone you are concerned about.

In this video, some key learnings we found useful are around the use of real-life examples and stories of lived experience to encourage support, and some tips on giving an appropriate amount of space when facilitating a Mental Health First Aid conversation.

Watch our 21st Anniversary MHFAider online event

On October 13th, Mental Health First Aid were proudly joined by more 350 MHFAiders in an online event to celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the MHFA Program. 
MHFAiders heard from key speakers Shannon Anderson, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Peta Dampney on a range of topics, including the 21 year milestone of the MHFA Program, the importance of self-care, and the impact that reaching out to someone in need can truly have. The event concluded with a dynamic panel discussion, which was guided by questions submitted by MHFAiders. 
It was a wonderful and inspiring event, and we are pleased to make the recording available to you, along with the slides from Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Peta Dampney.


City of Victor Harbor
Building the well-being safety net in regional communities

With a commitment to Workplace Health and Safety, the City of Victor Harbor realised that much of their focus had previously been on physical well-being and safety. It was time to recognise the vital role of mental health for everyone in their community.

The City of Victor Harbor now prioritise mental health in their day-to-day operations and their communications.

Mental Health First Aid training forms part of their induction process and is widely available to staff across the organisation. They have appointed MHFA Officers, and staff are encouraged to participate in refresher training every three years. 

Learn more about the work City of Victor Harbor have been doing to use Mental Health First Aid to build a mentally healthy community. 

Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces:
Impact, Support and Culture

Everyone deserves a healthy place to work.

More and more businesses across Australia are realising the importance of managing mental health at work and the colossal benefits to creating a mentally healthy workplace.

We asked four of our accredited Mental Health First Aid workplaces to share the impact they’ve seen since implementing MHFA training, and how they’ve continued to support and grow their community of MHFAiders.

Not an MHFAider yet?

Find a course that suits you and learn the skills to make a difference. 

Latest Mental Health First Aid Articles

Covering a wide range of current and topical issues and taking a closer look at some of the common types of mental health problems, our articles are the perfect way to enhance your knowledge and understanding.

Take a look at what’s currently available.

Do you have an MHFA story to share?

Throughout 2021, we will be sharing more stories about Mental Health First Aid and the importance of good mental health. This will include stories from individuals who have completed our training and workplaces and community groups that are implementing Mental Health First Aid Courses within their organisations.

 If you are interested in sharing your MHFA story, send us an email and we’ll be in touch.

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