Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a skills-based training course that teaches participants in the community about mental health and substance-use issues as well as how to provide support to individuals experiencing mental health distress. Founded in 2000 in Australia, it has expanded to 24 countries, and over 2.5 million people in the United States have participated in MHFA trainings.
A team of colleagues in the Columbia Global Mental Health Programs network (Sarah Forthal, M.P.H., Karolina Sadowska, B.A., Kathleen M. Pike, Ph.D., Manya Balachander, B.A., Kristina Jacobsson, B.A., and Sabrina Hermosilla, Ph.D.) recently conducted a systematic review of Mental Health First Aid studies. The systematic review examined 1) how individuals trained in MHFA deliver support; and 2) the impact on recipients’ mental health after receiving support from a MHFA trainee.
Although there has been evidence indicating that MHFA training courses improves trainee knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral intent in delivering support, the team found a lack of sufficient research available to assess whether MHFA measurably affects trainee behavior or recipient mental health. This is a crucial research and evaluation gap that needs to be filled as MHFA trainings continue to expand across the world.
To read the full article in Psychiatric Services, click here.
To learn more about Mental Health First Aid, click here.