Learn about the real stories behind mental health first aid conversations.

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The power of conversation

The power of a mental health first aid conversation lies in its ability to provide support, reduce stigma, and facilitate early intervention for those experiencing a mental health problem.  

Initiating and engaging in a mental health first aid conversation can be both challenging and confronting, but also incredibly beneficial – both for the person initiating the conversation and for the person in need of support.  

Stories of mental health first aid conversations show that anyone can have a conversation that may change a life. It is through stories of connection, conversation and support that we learn the real-life impact of MHFA training in connecting people to the help they need. 

Explore these first-hand accounts from our community to learn about the diverse experiences of Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAiders) and Instructors, and how their training equipped them with the skills and confidence to recognise signs of mental health problems, offer support and guide people toward the help they need.

The Mental Health First Aid Australia team share their stories

Watch the stories from our Mental Health First Aiders

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Do you have a story to share?

If you’re a Mental Health First Aider with a story to share about how a mental health first aid conversation has made a difference, 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 more about Mental Health First Aid® Stories and how to share your own.

About Mental Health First Aid (MHFA®) Stories 
We launched MHFA stories to highlight the first-hand accounts of mental health first aid conversations and the impact of those conversations. The Stories series shows that anyone can have a conversation that may change a life. It is through stories of connection, care, and support that we learn the real-life impact of MHFA training in connecting people to the help they need. 

Over the course of 2024, we will continue to collect and curate a diverse range of stories that demonstrate the importance and power of a mental health first aid conversation and the significant role of stigma reduction in improving access to early intervention supports for those experiencing mental health problems. 

About MHFAiders® 
Mental Health First Aiders, or MHFAiders, are people who have completed a Mental Health First Aid course. They are equipped with the practical skills and confidence to recognise, understand, and respond to someone experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis. 

MHFAiders play a vital role in reducing stigma and promoting pathways to support for those experiencing mental health problems in our workplaces, communities, schools, and tertiary institutions.  

Sharing your story 
We are seeking expressions of interest from the following, current MHFAiders: 

  • Standard, Youth, Older Person MHFA 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Standard and Youth MHFA 

We are also seeking expressions of interest from the following Licensed MHFA Instructors: 

  • Standard, Youth, Older Person MHFA 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Standard and Youth MHFA 

It is important that you feel comfortable sharing your story, with the intent of helping educate others about the importance and impact of open, honest, and supportive conversations about mental health.  

How do I share a story? 
1. Submit an expression of interest. 
The expression of interest aims to capture some basic information about you and the story you would like to share, including:  

  • Your name, email, and occupation. 
  • The MHFA course type you completed and the date of completion. 
  • A summary of conversation/story, including the skills used to assist the person in need. 
  • An overview of the impact that MHFA training has had on you. 

2. Expressions of interest will be assessed. 
Mental Health First Aid Australia staff will review each expression of interest to determine its suitability, against a range of assessment criteria, including: 

  • Diversity of content. 
  • Diversity of MHFAider experience/background. 
  • Appropriateness of the story e.g. could it be triggering in any way? Does it reflect MHFA values?
  • Relevance to MHFA training, the MHFA Action Plan, or mental health first aid conversations.

3. If your story meets the relevant criteria a member of our team will be in touch to organise an online meeting to discuss the specifics of your story further. At this time, they will discuss options for how the story is shared – written, audio and/or video content. 

All stories will be edited as/where needed for clarity and readability, and to ensure that they are deidentified. Your Story will be sent to you for review prior to publication. A release form or permissions form must be signed and completed prior to publication.  

How will my story be shared? 
Stories can be captured in one of three ways: 

1. Written Stories: 
A member of our team will interview you to form the basis of a written case study. Interviews will be conducted either via a virtual meeting or written Q&A. For individuals who are interviewed, audio will be recorded for transcript purposes only, unless otherwise agreed during the call. 

2. Audio Stories: 
The recorded audio story is used in full or in an edited version. 

3. Video Stories: 
Your story will be professionally filmed and used in full or in an edited version. 

With video stories, we are looking for people who are comfortable sharing their knowledge and experience on camera, without disguising their identity. 

If you participate in a video story, you will be interviewed on camera. The interviewer will not appear in the final edit of the film. Individuals present during the filming will include:  

  • a camera person 
  • a producer 
  • representatives from Mental Health First Aid Australia 
  • additional crew as and if required. 

The location for any video content will be selected in consultation with you. 
Wherever possible, filming will take place in a location geographically convenient for the MHFAider or Instructor sharing their story. 

What questions will I be asked? 

Prior to your interview, you will receive a list of questions that we would like you to talk to. Topics that may be covered include, but are not limited to: 

  • What was the motivation behind becoming an MHFAider? 
  • When did you become an MHFAider? 
  • Can you describe a time where you used your MHFA knowledge and skills to have a supportive conversation either in your personal or professional life? 
  • What MHFA skills did you use when having that supportive conversation? 
  • Can you describe the impact that conversation had on you and on the help receiver? 
  • Is there anything else you would like to share? 

Where will my story be shared? 
Written, audio and video stories will be shared on Mental Health First Aid Australia’s website. They will also be shared through electronic newsletters, social media posts and digital advertising. 

Participant Release Agreement: 
Participants will be asked to sign a release agreement, granting Mental Health First Aid Australia the right to use written, audio and/or video content for education, marketing, and engagement purposes. 

Our MHFA community share their stories 

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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Jill’s Story

Jill, a nurse and seasoned Licensed MHFA Instructor has witnessed first-hand the profound impact that mental health first aid skills can have on healthcare and communities.

Read More

Illustration of Mental Health 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.

Read More

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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.

Read More

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