Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid

Equips adults with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to recognise, understand and respond to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander adult, experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis.

INTERVENE EARLY

Recognise the warning signs of mental health problems for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults.

OFFER SUPPORT

Learn the skills to have an open, supportive conversation about mental health with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander adult.

RESPOND IN A CRISIS

Respond across a range of situations where an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander adult may be at risk of harm.

REDUCE STIGMA

Reduce stigma and increase supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults experiencing and living with mental health problems.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid course teaches participants how to provide initial support to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander adult who may be experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis, until professional support is received, or the crisis resolves. 

This strengths-based course has been developed and reviewed in consultation with Australia’s First Nations people. The course ensures participants are grounded in social and emotional well-being from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective, equipping them with the skills to provide mental health first aid in a culturally safe and informed way.  

Course participants learn about the signs and symptoms of common mental health problems in adults, how to recognise and respond to an emerging or worsening mental health problem, and the supports available, including cultural context to community-based care. 

Using a practical, evidence-based action plans, course participants learn how to approach someone they are concerned about and initiate a conversation about those concerns. Participants also learn how to offer initial support and information and how to encourage the person to seek professional, cultural and other supports. 

Adults who complete the course become Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAiders), equipped with the knowledge, confidence, and skills to provide someone with mental health information and support when it matters most.

This course is recognised by Suicide Prevention Australia as a safe, high-quality, and effective suicide prevention program. Learn more.

Watch this short video to learn more about our course.

Course information

Delivery format

Face-to-Face
Blended Face-to-Face
Blended Online

Duration

14 hours

Take the next step

For individuals or small groups

For larger groups

Why MHFA?

Evidence-based: All Mental Health First Aid courses are based on guidelines that are informed by people with lived experience, their caregivers, and mental health professionals.

Rigorously evaluated: Evaluations consistently show that Mental Health First Aid training improves participants’ knowledge of mental illnesses and their treatments, and confidence in providing mental health first aid to individuals.

Skills-based: Teaches the practical skills, knowledge, and confidence to make a difference.

Internationally recognised: Over 6 million people trained in Mental Health First Aid across 25 countries.

Culturally appropriate & effective: Research has found Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid courses to be culturally appropriate and effective.

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for this course are informed by cultural knowledge and understandings for adults supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. Upon completion of this course participants will be able to: 

  • Recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults 
  • Understand the prevalence and impact of mental illnesses and risk factors, with specific information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 
  • Gain an understanding of cultural considerations, from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective 
  • Gain an understanding of the treatments and supports available 
  • Gain an understanding of the local and cultural supports and resources available to someone experiencing mental health problems 
  • Know the barriers to support-seeking and how to overcome these 
  • Use an evidence-based action plan to initiate a mental health first aid conversation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, in a culturally safe and informed way 
  • Assess for a range of crisis situations and provide initial support 
  • Apply self-care practices as a Mental Health First Aider.  

Suitability

This course is suitable for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous individuals, workplaces of all sizes, and volunteer and community-based groups.

Any adult (aged 18+) can attend.

Course Content

The course has been developed to support information about mental health first aid and self-care in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and covers common and disabling mental health problems and crisis situations. Participants learn how to apply mental health first aid to adults across a range of situations, including: 

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Alcohol and other drugs 
  • Substance use problems 
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours 
  • Non suicidal self-injury 
  • Psychosis 
  • Crisis first aid 

The course also looks at mental health problems in community, social and emotional well-being, self-care and cultural considerations and safety.  

It considers local perspectives and experiences and utilises lived experience stories and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander photography, film, and art works. This representation matters and leads to better outcomes for those participating in training and the people they go on to support. 

Duration & Format

The 14-hour course can be delivered in 1 of 3 ways:

Face-to-Face: 2 x 7-hour sessions over 2 days

Blended Face-to-Face: Self-paced e-Learning (7 hours), followed by a 5-hour face-to-face session

Blended Online: Self-paced e-Learning (7 hours), followed by a 5-hour video conferencing session

All sessions are led by an MHFA trained and Licensed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Instructor.

Accreditation

You can complete the short assessment at the end of a course to become an Accredited Mental Health First Aider (MHFAider). 

Accreditations are valid for 3 years. 

Learn more about the role of an MHFAider

Course Fees

Mental Health First Aid Australia does not employ the Instructors that it trains and licenses. Therefore, each Licensed MHFA Instructor has the autonomy and flexibility to set their own course fees. Course fees do vary for many reasons which can include course type, individual Instructor qualifications and credentials, course venue, course location (metropolitan vs regional locations), course catering and any course participant subsidies that may be available as a result of a community grant.


Our Instructor explained topics clearly that left you understanding the strong need of mental health support for not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but for society as a whole. I definitely left with a better understanding.

The Instructor created a safe environment for participants to learn and share. She provided practical opportunities as well as the opportunity for relevant discussion.


The facilitators created a safe space for participants to share their experiences and stories. It was a great cultural awareness training opportunity in addition to the first aid component.

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