MHFAIDER UPDATE

Welcome to the first update of 2022. When thinking about the articles and case studies that would be featured here, we decided to focus on some of the common things that can affect us all at this time of year. For many that includes returning to work, or study, or supporting our children as they begin a new school year. The beginning of another year brings with it fresh opportunities; a chance to wipe the slate clean and start again. It can also bring new challenges as we look to balance day to day life under the cloud of uncertainty caused by COVID-19. 

As the team at Mental Health First Aid® prepare for another busy year we do so with a sense of cautious optimism.  We look forward to continuing and expanding our work and the return of face-to-face course delivery. Like many workplaces, we will also embrace a new hybrid way of working as we commence a gradual return to the office. We are all looking forward to the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and meet new ones, that we’ve only seen via Zoom. 

We hope you find this MHFAider update informative. We welcome any feedback on content suggestions, and we look forward to keeping in touch with you throughout 2022.  

Thank you.

Shannon Anderson

NEW MHFA ARTICLES

Looking out for those not coping –
Understanding and helping with depression

Depression reportedly affects 1 in 10 Australians every year. Given its prevalence, it is likely that you will work, live, study, play sport or socialise with someone who is experiencing depression. Depression is a common, yet serious mental health problem characterised by prolonged low moods and negative feelings. It can significantly impact the way a person participates in family and social life, engages with work, and interacts with their community. Overall, prolonged depression can impact quality of life and outcomes.

In this article you will learn more about what workplaces, schools and community groups can do to actively support people with depression and other common mental health problems.

Recognising the signs and symptoms of mental health problems during the pandemic

We don’t need to be told again how challenging the past two years have been amid the global pandemic. No doubt you’ve experienced your own form of difficulties, as have those around you. It is, however, helpful to understand the impact of the current situation on mental health. It’s also a time for all of us to recognise the role we can all play in supporting others. There is strength in connection and peer-to-peer support during difficult times. 

One of the simplest ways that we can make a difference is to look out for one and other. This means knowing the signs that may indicate that someone at home, work, school or in our community, is not coping. In this article we look at both the additional issues that we are dealing with during this pandemic, the signs to look out for and the practical steps to follow if you do notice the signs of a mental health problem or crisis. 

OUR COURSES

Empowering young people through
mental health first aid 

For young people, the start of a new school year can be a time for reconnecting with friends and exploring new pursuits. Facing change and new situations as a teenager brings with it the expected pressures of adolescence, but the added stress of returning to school post-lockdown and amidst COVID-19 means Australian teens are facing many more challenges in 2022.

Mental health remains a key concern for the wellbeing and development of all young people and one way to achieve this is through the Teen Mental Health First Aid Program.

Read how Teen MHFA courses equip young people with the knowledge and skills to deliver peer-to-peer support, and can also promote self-awareness around mental health topics, to encourage self-care and help seeking.

Mental Health First Aid Refresher Courses:

Are you up to date?

As an MHFAider – whether you completed a course yesterday, last week, or last year – you should always know how to recognise the signs and symptoms that someone maybe struggling with their mental health.

Close to 1 million Australians have now undertaken some form of Mental Health First Aid training – training and knowledge that makes a vital contribution to the mental health and suicide safety of our communities.

Continual learning ensures this safety and enables our network of trained MHFAiders to maintain their knowledge, build on their skills, and boost their confidence. In this update, learn why MHFA Refresher Courses are so important, and which course you’re eligible for.

VIDEOS & RESOURCES

What’s behind an MHFA conversation? 

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 you will meet Gav and Tom, who work closely with one another. Recently, Tom has been consistently late, is falling behind on his work, and has been expressing dissatisfaction and a lack of motivation. Would you feel confident in knowing what to say?

We’ve broken down the full conversation to illustrate the importance of the words you use and the approach you take when having a mental health first aid conversation.

MHFA IN THE WORKPLACE AND COMMUNITY

St Augustine’s College, Cairns

St Augustine’s is a Catholic secondary school with over 100 employees, including teachers, cleaners, administration staff, maintenance, catering, and boarding staff.

6 years ago, a passionate staff member, College Counsellor Roger Vallance, introduced Mental Health First Aid training to school leaders. Since then the school has trained more than 70% of their staff, and become accredited as a Gold MHFA Skilled Workplace.

In talking with school staff and community members, we wanted to share the number of successful strategies that have contributed to the success of St Augustine’s MHFA program.

Read more in our in-depth case study.

Glenelg Shire

Recognising the Glenelg Shire for their work and commitment to improving mental health

Congratulations to Glenelg Shire on becoming the first community to be recognised as a Mental Health First Aid Champion Community. 

Located in south-west Victoria, Glenelg Shire has taken action to promote and foster early intervention and improve mental health literacy to reduce stigma, increase community resilience and supports. Since implementing the Live4Life mental health education and youth suicide prevention model designed specifically for rural and regional communities, around 10% of the Glenelg Shire community have been trained in Mental Health First Aid, including over 200 adults and 1,300 young people.

Read more about Glenelg Shire’s Mental Health First Aid journey in our in-depth case study.

Find out more about the Champion Communities Program here.

A guide to evaluating your MHFA training program

Evaluation is a key component to any training program, and a well-designed evaluation can provide valuable insight for planning and budgeting. Mental Health First Aid have developed this resource to help workplaces, schools and community groups to design and implement evaluation.

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 2022, 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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