Research Informing Curriculum

Our steadfast commitment to research and evaluation makes us global leaders in the field of mental health education.

Evidence-based, evidence-informed and evidence-led.

 

MHFA Guidelines

Mental Health First Aid course curriculum is informed by our MHFA Guidelines. Our guidelines are developed using the Delphi Consensus Method which involves the formation of an expert panel on what constitutes best practice mental health first aid. Expert consensus panels include people with lived experience of mental illness, their caregivers, and mental health professionals.

The Delphi Method

Most of the time, researchers figure out the best way to do things by testing them out. Sometimes, though, there is no ethical way to test something out. In those cases, researchers use consensus methods to make decisions – asking experts what they think is best, and finding out what they can all agree on.

We use medical journals, books, websites and other sources to see what a wide range of people think. The experts decide what the best advice is, and what should be included in the guidelines.

This process ensures confidence in what we teach.

About every ten years we update our guidelines to make sure we are still teaching the right thing.

The Oracle of Delphi

The name Delphi derives from the Oracle of Delphi,
an Ancient Greek oracle, who could predict the future. Its original purpose was to “obtain the most reliable consensus of opinion of a group of experts.”

Who Are Our Experts?

Find out more about our experts along with information on getting involved.

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Lived Experience

People who have a lived experience of the mental health problem under study, who also have broader experiences with others through peer work, advocacy roles and mutual support.

At Mental Health First Aid, the wisdom and experience of people with lived experience of mental health problems is central to everything that we do.

Caregivers

People who have a lived experience of providing daily support for someone with the mental health problem under study, who also have broader experiences with others through peer work, advocacy roles and mutual support.

A caregiver might be a parent, sibling, spouse, child, or close friend.

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Professionals

Clinical experts (such as psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals), researchers who write clinical practice guidelines, and others with a high degree of professional experience with the mental health problem under study.

 

Guideline Development Journal Articles

Below you can read about the research projects conducted by MHFA Australia to find out the best way to help someone with a mental health problem.

Major Papers

Jorm, A. F. (2015). Using the Delphi expert consensus method in mental health research. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry49(10), 887–897. doi: 10.1177/0004867415600891

This article gives an overview of the use of the Delphi expert consensus method in mental health research. It explains the rationale for using the method, examines the range of uses to which it has been put in mental health research, and describes the stages of carrying out a Delphi study using examples from the literature.

Hart, L. M., Jorm, A. F., Paxton, S. J., & Cvetkovski, S. (2012). Mental health first aid guidelines: an evaluation of impact following download from the World Wide Web. Early Intervention in Psychiatry6(4), 399–406. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2012.00345.x

The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness and impact of the MHFA Guidelines on web users who download them. Web users who downloaded the guidelines were invited to complete two questionnaires two months apart. The study found that download and use of the guidelines was associated with more positive, empathic and successful helping behaviours. A similar study conducted in France found similar results: Melioli, T., Rispal, M., Hart, L. M., Chabrol, H., & Rodgers, R. F. (2018). French mental health first aid guidelines for eating disorders: an exploration of user characteristics and usefulness among college students. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 12(2), 229-233. doi:10.1111/eip.12369. A similar study conducted with MHFA Australia’s guidelines on harmful gambling also found similar results: Bond, K. S., Reavley, N. J., Kitchener, B. A., Kelly, C. M., Oakes, J., & Jorm, A. F. (2020). Evaluation of the effectiveness of online mental health first aid guidelines for helping someone experiencing gambling problems. Advances in Mental Health, 1-12. doi:10.1080/18387357.2020.1763815.

The development of mental health first aid guidelines for English-speaking countries

**Guidelines are ordered alphabetically. References are ordered by most recent first.**

 

Overview paper

Jorm, A. F., & Ross, A. M. (2018). Guidelines for the public on how to provide mental health first aid: narrative review. BJPsych Open4(6), 427–440. doi: 10.1192/bjo.2018.58

Alcohol and substance misuse

Kingston, A. H., Jorm, A. F., Kitchener, B. A., Hides, L., Kelly, C. M., Morgan, A. J., … Lubman, D. I. (2009). Helping someone with problem drinking: Mental health first aid guidelines – a Delphi expert consensus study. BMC Psychiatry9(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-244x-9-79

Kingston, A. H., Morgan, A. J., Jorm, A. F., Hall, K., Hart, L. M., Kelly, C. M., & Lubman, D. I. (2011). Helping someone with problem drug use: a Delphi consensus study of consumers, carers, and clinicians. BMC Psychiatry11(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-244x-11-3

Assisting Australians with mental health problems and financial difficulties

Bond, K. S., Chalmers, K. J., Jorm, A. F., Kitchener, B. A., & Reavley, N. J. (2015). Assisting Australians with mental health problems and financial difficulties: a Delphi study to develop guidelines for financial counsellors, financial institution staff, mental health professionals and carers. BMC Health Services Research15(1). doi: 10.1186/s12913-015-0868-2

Caregivers of people with bipolar disorder

Berk, L., Jorm, A. F., Kelly, C. M., Dodd, S., & Berk, M. (2011). Development of guidelines for caregivers of people with bipolar disorder: a Delphi expert consensus study. Bipolar Disorders13(5-6), 556–570. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-5618.2011.00942.x

Cognitive impairment or dementia

Bond, K. S., Jorm, A. F., Kitchener, B. A., Kelly, C. M., & Chalmers, K. J. (2016). Development of guidelines for family and non-professional helpers on assisting an older person who is developing cognitive impairment or has dementia: a Delphi expert consensus study. BMC Geriatrics16(1). doi: 10.1186/s12877-016-0305-3

Depression

Bond, K. S., Cottrill, F. A., Blee, F. L., Kelly, C. M., Kitchener, B. A., & Jorm, A. F. (2019). Offering mental health first aid to a person with depression: a Delphi study to re-develop the guidelines published in 2008. BMC Psychology7(1). doi: 10.1186/s40359-019-0310-3

Langlands, R. L., Jorm, A. F., Kelly, C. M., & Kitchener, B. A. (2008). First aid for depression: A Delphi consensus study with consumers, carers and clinicians. Journal of Affective Disorders105(1-3), 157–165. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2007.05.004

Eating disorders

Hart, L. M., Jorm, A. F., Paxton, S. J., Kelly, C. M., & Kitchener, B. A. (2009). First aid for eating disorders. Eating Disorders17(5), 357–384. doi: 10.1080/10640260903210156

Gambling

Bond, K. S., Jorm, A. F., Miller, H. E., Rodda, S. N., Reavley, N. J., Kelly, C. M., & Kitchener, B. A. (2016). How a concerned family member, friend or member of the public can help someone with gambling problems: a Delphi consensus study. BMC Psychology4(1). doi: 10.1186/s40359-016-0110-y

Non-suicidal self-injury

Ross, A. M., Kelly, C. M., & Jorm, A. F. (2014). Re-development of mental health first aid guidelines for non-suicidal self-injury: a Delphi study. BMC Psychiatry14(1). doi: 10.1186/s12888-014-0236-5

Kelly, C. M., Jorm, A. F., Kitchener, B. A., & Langlands, R. L. (2008). Development of mental health first aid guidelines for deliberate non-suicidal self-injury: A Delphi study. BMC Psychiatry8(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-244x-8-62

Panic attacks

Kelly, C. M., Jorm, A. F., & Kitchener, B. A. (2009). Development of mental health first aid guidelines for panic attacks: a Delphi study. BMC Psychiatry9(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-244x-9-49

Preventing mental health problems in the workplace

Reavley, N. J., Ross, A., Martin, A., Lamontagne, A. D., & Jorm, A. F. (2014). Development of guidelines for workplace prevention of mental health problems: A Delphi consensus study with Australian professionals and employees. Mental Health & Prevention2(1-2), 26–34. doi: 10.1016/j.mhp.2014.07.002

Providing mental health first aid in the workplace

Bovopoulos, N., Jorm, A. F., Bond, K. S., Lamontagne, A. D., Reavley, N. J., Kelly, C. M., … Martin, A. (2016). Providing mental health first aid in the workplace: a Delphi consensus study. BMC Psychology4(1). doi: 10.1186/s40359-016-0148-x

Providing mental health first aid to adolescents

For adults:

Fischer, J. A., Kelly, C. M., Kitchener, B. A., & Jorm, A. F. (2013). Development of guidelines for adults on how to communicate with adolescents about mental health problems and other sensitive topics: a Delphi study. SAGE Open3(4), 215824401351676. doi: 10.1177/2158244013516769

For adolescents helping their peers:

Ross, A. M., Hart, L. M., Jorm, A. F., Kelly, C. M., & Kitchener, B. A. (2012). Development of key messages for adolescents on providing basic mental health first aid to peers: a Delphi consensus study. Early Intervention in Psychiatry6(3), 229–238. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2011.00331.x

Providing mental health first aid to an LGBTIQ person

Bond, K. S., Jorm, A. F., Kelly, C. M., Kitchener, B. A., Morris, S. L., & Mason, R. J. (2017). Considerations when providing mental health first aid to an LGBTIQ person: a Delphi study. Advances in Mental Health15(2), 183–197. doi: 10.1080/18387357.2017.1279017

Providing mental health first aid to Iraqi refugees in Australia

Guajardo, M. G. U., Slewa-Younan, S., Santalucia, Y., & Jorm, A. F. (2016). Important considerations when providing mental health first aid to Iraqi refugees in Australia: a Delphi study. International Journal of Mental Health Systems10(1). doi: 10.1186/s13033-016-0087-1

Providing mental health first aid to tertiary students

Reavley, N. J., Ross, A. M., Killackey, E., & Jorm, A. F. (2013). Development of guidelines for tertiary education institutions to assist them in supporting students with a mental illness: a Delphi consensus study with Australian professionals and consumers. PeerJ1. doi: 10.7717/peerj.43

Psychosis

Langlands, R. L., Jorm, A. F., Kelly, C. M., & Kitchener, B. A. (2007). First aid recommendations for psychosis: using the Delphi method to gain consensus between mental health consumers, carers, and clinicians. Schizophrenia Bulletin34(3), 435–443. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbm099

Suicide

Colucci, E., Jorm, A. F., Kelly, C. M., & Minas, H. (2018). Suicide first aid guidelines for assisting persons from immigrant or refugee background: a Delphi study. Advances in Mental Health16(2), 105–116. doi: 10.1080/18387357.2018.1469383

Ross, A. M., Kelly, C. M., & Jorm, A. F. (2014). Re-development of mental health first aid guidelines for suicidal ideation and behaviour: a Delphi study. BMC Psychiatry14(1). doi: 10.1186/s12888-014-0241-8

Kelly, C. M., Jorm, A. F., Kitchener, B. A., & Langlands, R. L. (2008). Development of mental health first aid guidelines for suicidal ideation and behaviour: A Delphi study. BMC Psychiatry8(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-244x-8-17

Trauma

Kelly, C. M., Jorm, A. F., & Kitchener, B. A. (2010). Development of mental health first aid guidelines on how a member of the public can support a person affected by a traumatic event: a Delphi study. BMC Psychiatry10(1). doi: 10.1186/1471-244x-10-49

The development of mental health first aid guidelines for Asian countries

The development of mental health first aid guidelines for Asian countries

 

Suicide

De Silva, S. A., Colucci, E., Mendis, J., Kelly, C. M., Jorm, A. F., & Minas, H. (2016). Suicide first aid guidelines for Sri Lanka: a Delphi consensus study. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 10(1), 53. doi:10.1186/s13033-016-0085-3

Colucci, E., Kelly, C. M., Minas, H., Jorm, A. F., & Suzuki, Y. (2011). Mental Health First Aid guidelines for helping a suicidal person: a Delphi consensus study in Japan. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 5(1), 12. doi:10.1186/1752-4458-5-12

Colucci, E., Kelly, C. M., Minas, H., Jorm, A. F., & Chatterjee, S. (2010). Mental Health First Aid guidelines for helping a suicidal person: a Delphi consensus study in India. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 4(1), 4. doi:10.1186/1752-4458-4-4 

Colucci, E., Kelly, C. M., Minas, H., Jorm, A. F., & Nadera, D. (2010). Mental Health First Aid guidelines for helping a suicidal person: a Delphi consensus study in the Philippines. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 4(1), 32. doi:10.1186/1752-4458-4-32

To compare suicide first aid guidelines between countries, the following study was done:

Jorm, A. F., Ross, A. M., & Colucci, E. (2018). Cross-cultural generalizability of suicide first aid actions: an analysis of agreement across expert consensus studies from a range of countries and cultures. BMC Psychiatry, 18(1), 58. doi:10.1186/s12888-018-1636-8

Psychosis

Jorm, A. F., Minas, H., Langlands, R. L., & Kelly, C. M. (2008). First aid guidelines for psychosis in Asian countries: A Delphi consensus study. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2(1), 2. doi:10.1186/1752-4458-2-2

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