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Do Mental Health First Aid™ courses enhance knowledge?

Hana Morrissey (School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia)
Simon Moss (School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia)
Nektarios Alexi (School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia)
Patrick Ball (School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 13 March 2017

457

Abstract

Purpose

Biased assumptions and unhelpful tendencies in human nature can lead people who are experiencing mental illness to shun help and support. Mental illness is often perceived as immutable and/or a sign of weakness. Even those seeking support may not receive the assistance they need. Advice may be unsuitable or people feel too nervous and challenged to help. The Mental Health First Aid™ courses, like general first aid, are designed to enhance community knowledge and thereby support appropriate assistance. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the extent to which this is achieved.

Design/methodology/approach

An educational audit based upon a short quiz administered anonymously to 162 tertiary students from a range of disciplines, before and after delivery of the standard 12 hour Mental Health First Aid™ course. This was used to examine assumptions and proposed actions before and after training.

Findings

Analysis of the 162 responses found that the Mental Health First Aid™ courses significantly improve knowledge. This has the potential to increase understanding and support for those suffering mental illness.

Research limitations/implications

This educational audit looked only at knowledge improvement. Whether this really does translate into improved outcomes requires further investigation.

Practical implications

Tertiary students who are enrolled in health courses and others which involve human interaction as provision of services will be empowered with skills that enable them to interact with those who they will be serving at well-informed level and equity.

Social implications

Social inclusion and de-stigmatising mental health issues

Originality/value

Mental health first aid courses potentially enable individuals who are not otherwise involved in mental health to assist people in need.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors express their thanks to the Mental Health First Aid™ Australia for developing an excellent suite of mental health first aid courses.

Citation

Morrissey, H., Moss, S., Alexi, N. and Ball, P. (2017), "Do Mental Health First Aid™ courses enhance knowledge?", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 69-76. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-01-2016-0003

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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