Mental Health First Aid International (MHFA International) is the founding organisation and global authority on Mental Health First Aid.
We represent an international network of independent Licensed Providers working together to deliver practical mental health first aid training and education. Together we have over 50,000 Instructors and have delivered training to over 4 million people across 26 countries, who have joined our global movement of Mental Health First Aiders. This movement continues to grow and expand its positive impact around the world. The communities and people we reach are geographically, culturally, socially and economically diverse.
Collectively, we are the leading providers of mental health first aid training, and our evidence-based model is internationally acclaimed, peer reviewed, and all licensed courses are delivered by accredited Instructors. Our programs empower individuals with the knowledge, skills and confidence to support a friend, family member, colleague or peer who is experiencing mental health problems. By doing this, we improve support networks and the capacity for community care.
Our International Quality Principles represent a collaborative commitment to the highest standards in the adaptation and delivery of mental health first aid courses worldwide.
People the world over who interact with MHFA programs and services can trust that our Licensed Providers globally adhere to these International Quality Principles.
International Quality Principles
EVIDENCE INTO ACTION
Mental Health First Aid training will always be grounded by a rigorous evidence base that builds consensus from international research, evaluation and best practice. This includes independent expert analysis and peer review. This evidence base informs our program curriculum, delivery and guidelines. Our training and education initiatives translate this evidence into practical action at a community level.
Mental Health First Aid programs and services will be offered in a culturally relevant way. They are designed so that Licensed Providers can best meet the unique needs of different countries, regions, communities, workplaces, schools and local groups. This means acknowledging place-based strengths, needs and challenges, and adapting curriculum to different audiences and their unique cultural and social requirements. Our programs embrace diversity and encourage inclusion of people from all walks of life. Many of our programs and resources are also designed to reach specific vulnerable, marginalised or disadvantaged audience groups.
MENTAL HEALTH LITERACY
Mental Health First Aid training will increase mental health literacy and the propensity for individual course participants to take action that will benefit their own mental health or that of others within their own networks or community. This will be achieved by focusing on: improved understanding of mental illness and mental health problems which aid their recognition, management or prevention.
FOCUS ON COMMUNITY
Wherever it is delivered, Mental Health First Aid will focus on community development and capacity building. Our training expands the knowledge, skills and confidence for everyday people (from all walks of life) to be able to contribute to informal mental health support. This will be achieved by taking a population health approach delivered at the local community level, to address problems such as: mental illness; suicidality; trauma; crises; and other mental health challenges in communities, families, places of work, social groups and schools. Our delivery model will empower and mobilise accredited Instructors to educate First Aiders , and trained First Aiders will have the knowledge and practical skills to support the communities they live, work and socialise in.
PRACTICAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Mental Health First Aid training will focus on building mental health first aid skills that can be used in any setting. The practical application will be in the form of a clear Action Plan for improved recognition and response to developing, existing or worsening mental health problems, including crisis first aid. Our training will increase the community capacity for informed and supportive conversations about mental health – reducing stigma and misinformation about mental health problems and help seeking. Training will empower individuals to become First Aiders who can go on to provide mental health first aid support to others.
INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY
Mental Health First Aid will offer programs that are applicable to a broad range of people, and which encourage engagement from anyone looking to improve their knowledge and skills around mental health support and interventions. Our curriculums, resources and delivery will foster inclusion. This approach will broaden the community safety net provided by our networks of First Aiders. Our training will embrace the diversity of people across all the communities we work in. Our curriculum will enable Instructors and First Aiders to offer non-judgemental support to others, with respect for differences including: race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, socio-economic status, education level, ability, and lifestyle.
REDUCE STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION
Mental Health First Aid will reduce stigma and misinformation that can cause discrimination against people with mental health problems; promoting attitudes, language and behaviours that reduce stigma for those experiencing mental health problems; improving interpersonal and community discourse around mental health issues; and promoting steps and pathways to support.
INFORMED BY EXPERIENCE
Mental Health First Aid programs and operations will draw from collaboration with people in community, including those with lived experience of mental health problems. Our programs maintain a consistent feedback loop with a range of Instructors, workplaces, community groups, schools and individual participants, alongside mental health experts. From the shared experience across our networks we continue to strive for quality improvement, and innovation in design and delivery – alongside our tried and tested delivery modes that have proven efficacy and impact.
Licensed Providers offering Mental Health First Aid courses will take the safety and mental health of Instructors, First Aiders and participants into consideration at all times in the development and delivery of all training. Improving community safety around mental health and mental health first aid interventions is a key driver of our work.