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Jill Reid is a seasoned nurse and mental health educator and Licensed Mental Health First Aid Instructor.  Since becoming an Instructor, Jill has seen first-hand the impact that mental health literacy skills can have on the healthcare sector and communities more broadly.

“I’ve taught Mental Health First Aid to community members, to businesses, to health care services – you name it,” Jill said.

“I taught nursing at TAFEs over the years and included [MHFA skills] into my teaching as well.”

Jill’s first experience with Mental Health First Aid was when she undertook training to become an Accredited Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider) in the late 2000s while working as a health nurse.

Soon after becoming an Accredited MHFAider, she took the next step in her MHFA journey, undertaking the 5-day intensive course to and become a Licensed MHFA Instructor, a role she has continued for nearly 15 years. 

“I hit the ground running,” she said.

Jill’s 30 years’ experience as a nurse and nursing instructor, has allowed her to see the practical side of ensuring health practitioners are trained holistically and with mental health in mind.

“Every time [I delivered training] – and I can guarantee this every time I did it – It was a door opening for more than one person who attended the session,” she said.

Jill says she has witnessed this ripple effect of shared knowledge in mental health literacy and MHFA training, make a real difference to students and professionals who would later go on to apply their skills in real life.

“It’s been great to hear how people have applied it, and not only that they’ve applied it, but that they’ve shared it with other people.”

For many MHFAiders, engaging in a mental health first aid conversation can take its toll, as they reflect and worry whether they did the right thing or used the wrong words.

Part of undergoing training and having a shared understanding within a workplace or community setting, means that there are people on hand to provide support to fellow MHFAiders.

“[I remember speaking with] somebody who had worked with a young person who had talked about suicidal thoughts.

“They [had done] the right thing, and the young person was fine and went on to receive help.

“But [the MHFAider] carried this with them for quite some time… [They] carried that burden with them about ‘did I say the right things?’ ‘did I do the right things?’”

Sharing their experience with a fellow MHFAider, someone trained with the same skills and knowledge, allowed the person their own opportunity to address and manage their mental health.

“For them, it was actually a huge relief, to be able to share it with somebody and have the feedback that yes, you are fine.

“You did everything wonderfully, you know. So, it was sometimes as simple as that,” Jill said.

After having spent so many years facilitating and teaching Mental Health First Aid, across dozens if not hundreds of sessions, Jill says the lessons learned are still unique to everyone.

“I can honestly say I’ve never done the same session twice.”

“Even though I know the content and everything, it’s really interesting to get people’s different perspectives of what MHFA means to them.”

Using a practical evidence-based action plan and using language that makes sense to all, Mental Health First Aid training gives people the opportunity and skills they need to have important, and at times, life changing conversations.

“To make it really simple for people to understand the normality around having emotional health concerns and what you can do, and reducing the judgement around it,”

“There’s a whole lot to mental health first aid that I think, is really relevant to so many people, because of all the different aspects of it.”

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Have a Story to share?

If you’re a Mental Health First Aider with a story to share, we’d love to hear from you.

Simply fill out the form below to share your details and our team will get in touch with you to discuss next steps.

Read Other Stories

Explore our other stories below or go back to the MHFA Stories page.

Cecilia’s story

Cecilia’s story

Cecilia’s mental health story started when she was young, although like many others she didn’t realise it at the time. The turning point in Cecilia’s story came when she was in the middle of a Mental Health First Aid course.

Kellie’s Story

Kellie’s Story

When Kellie’s housemate came home from work, their behaviour seemed off. As a trained Mental Health First Aider, Kellie recognised something wasn’t right.

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Leesa’s Story

Leesa’s Story

Leesa, a member of the Mental Health First Aider Network since 2021, combines her hospitality experience with a passion for mental health advocacy, hosting a podcast to share and explore mental health stories.

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Jackie’s Story

Jackie’s Story

Jackie, an active member of the Mental Health First Aider Network with a personal history of anxiety and family mental illness, advocates for mental health awareness, inspired by her own experiences and challenges since childhood.

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Harriet’s Story

Harriet’s Story

Harriet completed her Mental Health First Aid training in 2020. Her newfound skills were crucial when she helped a man in crisis, highlighting the practical importance of mental health awareness in real-life situations.

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