Mental Health First Aid

The Standard Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course teaches you how to assist an adult who may be experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves, using a practical, evidence-based action plan. 

In a similar vein to having First Aid Officers in the workplace, Mental Health First Aid Accredited Officers are on the ground in the workplace with the skills and confidence to have supportive conversations with their co-workers and help guide them to professional assistance.  They also provide an informal way of individuals accessing support outside of human resources or a manager and are a complement to other support services such as the Employee Assistance Program.

The course is suitable for rail employees at all levels. 

Course format and content

Mental Health First Aid courses teach people simple, practical first aid skills for helping a co-worker, family member, friend or other person who is experiencing mental health problems. 

Courses are delivered by an Accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor. 

The Standard Mental Health First Aid course is for adults assisting other adults, and is the course usually offered in the rail industry.  There are other courses available targeting specific groups.

It is a 12-hour course which is usually delivered as 2 x 6 hours or 4 x 3 hour sessions face to face, or the blended mode includes a combination of self-paced online (eLearning) and an Instructor-led component which can be delivered either face-to-face or via an online workshop.

The course provides participants with;

  • skills in how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems;
  • knowledge of the possible causes or risk factors for these mental health problems;
  • awareness of the evidence-based medical, psychological and alternative treatments available;
  • skills in how to give appropriate initial help and support someone experiencing a mental health problem; and
  • skills in how to take appropriate action if a crisis situation arises involving suicidal behaviour, panic attack, stress reaction to trauma, overdose or threatening psychotic behaviour.

Becoming an Accredited Mental Health First Aider

After completing the course participants are eligible to complete an online assessment to become an Accredited Mental Health First Aider.  Accreditation lasts for a period of 3 years. 

How many MHFA Officers do we need?

Some organisations choose to match the number of Mental Health First Aid Accredited Officers to the number of accredited First Aid Officers within the organisation.  Others encourage those involved in peer-to-peer support programs to undertake Mental Health First Aid training.  Others aim for diversity, with Mental Health First Aid Accredited Officers differing in seniority, position, gender, sexual orientation and cultural background and accessible within the different work areas of the organisation.  In this way, it increases the likelihood that someone developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis will find someone they feel comfortable talking with. 

Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace Recognition

Mental Health First Aid Australia has developed a workplace recognition program for organisations that achieve a minimum percentage of staff trained within the last three years; and complete actions which demonstrate the commitment to Mental Health First Aid in your workplace.  There are three tiers of recognition – Gold, Silver and Bronze.  More information is available here.

Impact of Mental Health First Aid

Evaluations have consistently shown that Mental Health First Aid training is associated with improved knowledge of mental illnesses and their treatments, knowledge of appropriate first aid strategies, and confidence in providing first aid to individuals with mental illness. Research shows that these benefits are sustained over time. Some studies have also shown improved mental health in those who attend the training, decreases in stigmatising attitudes and increases in the amount and type of support provided to others.

TrackSAFE Mental Health First Aid

TrackSAFE can deliver the Mental Health First Aid Standard course for groups of 10 – 25 adults for any organisation connected to the rail industry.  The course is delivered by an Accredited Instructor in-house, either face-to-face or online.  To request a quote, please contact us

Useful resources:

Mental Health First Aid Training:  An implementation guide for your workplace

Mental Health First Aid Australia Skilled Workplace Program