What is Standard Mental Health First Aid?


At Hero Town Geelong, we are passionate about empowering the community to help others in need, particularly in relation to mental health concerns. Along with the overwhelmingly positive reception of Youth Mental Health First Aid, we have also received interest in the Standard Mental Health First Aid course. So how do these two trainings differ, and what is the benefit of standard MHFA?

Deliver Mental Health First Aid to Adults

Whereas the Youth MHFA course is designed for adults working with adolescents aged 12-18 years, Standard MHFA teaches adults how to approach other adults with a mental health problem. The course teaches participants about the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance use problems. Participants of the SMHFA must be 18 years or over. The course consists of 12 hours of training material covered over two days face-to-face. If you would like to learn the material delivered in this course but are unable to attend two days of training, you may be interested in learning about our MHFA for the Workplace training.

Claim Continuing Professional Development Points

Participants of the SMHFA course are eligible to receive Continuing Professional Development Points (CPD) points with their industry body. Professionals can claim CPD points for attending SMHFA in many industries including psychologists, social workers, teachers, dieticians, speech pathologists, audiologists, lawyers in some areas of Australia, orthotists and prosthetists. Standard MHFA has been endorsed for CPD by several professional bodies including the Australian Pharmacy Council, the College of Mental Health Nurses, the Australian College of Midwives, the Australian College of Nurses and the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association.

What are the differences between Youth and Standard Mental Health First Aid?

As mentioned above, the primary difference is that Youth MHFA focuses on information relevant for adults to support young people, whereas standard MHFA focuses on adults supporting adults. Uniquely, Youth MHFA discusses impact of mental illness on adolescent development, including how it can interfere with academic achievement, puberty, developing relationships and long-term mental health. It also includes discussion about the differences in mental health symptoms, versus what could be normal teenage behaviour (moodiness, tiredness, etc.).

In addition to the content presented in Standard MHFA, Youth MHFA also includes information about non-suicidal self-injury and eating disorders, thereby making it a longer course (14 hours compared with 12 for Standard). If you are interested in learning about Standard MHFA, follow our page on Facebook or sign up to our mailing list. We will be releasing information about availability of the courses and training dates in early 2018.

Who can participate in Standard MHFA?

Any interested adult over the age of 18 can attend SMHFA. All participants of SMHFA have the opportunity to become accredited as a Mental Health First Aider. Much like a standard First Aid certification, becoming a Mental Health First Aider empowers you to act as a first responder in a mental health crisis.

Steph Downing
Stephanie Downing is the administrative assistant for Hero Town Geelong. Born and raised in Geelong, Australia, Stephanie is a graduate of Deakin University with her Honours degree in Professional and Creative Writing. She adores words of all sorts and is especially infatuated with the medium of poetry and fiction, with publications of her work being featured in magazines such as WORDLY Magazine, Plumwood Mountain Journal and Cordite Poetry Review.
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