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MHFA - Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid was developed in Australia and is a training program intended for the general public. The idea behind the training program is similar to physical first aid training: To provide the student with the knowledge that allows him or her to step in and provide first aid until the person receives professional help.

Knowledge of first aid in acute injury and in cardiopulmonary resuscitation has helped people generally know a lot about physical diseases and ailments, and uses these skills to save lives. The level of knowledge is low when it comes to mental illnesses and contributes to the judgmental and disparaging attitude towards mental illness that often occur. Common stereotypes is that people with mental illness are dangerous, crazy and unpredictable and that there are adequate treatment for mental health problems at the moment. Incomprehension often prevent the victim from seeking help in time and to seek the right kind of help.

Instructor course objectives

Are you interested in becoming an instructor in Mental Health First Aid in Sweden? This course gives you the power to organize and provide your own first aid for mental health. As a First Aid instructor, you will learn how to recognize and intervene in case of crisis, receives information and how to acknowledge and encourage to seek appropriate psychiatric help.

Mental Health First Aid was developed in Australia and is a training program intended for the general public. It has been adapted into Swedish where it is called 'Första hjälpen till psykisk hälsa'. The idea behind the training program is similar to physical first aid training: To provide the student with the knowledge that allows him or her to step in and provide first aid until the person receives professional help. The intention is also to spread awareness about mental health and mental illness in order to reduce prejudice and stigmatization.

Instructor course outline

The current instructor course is aimed at people who want to work as instructors in first aid for mental health. Instructor course includes one week of full-time education, then there is opportunity for tutoring. The course qualifies you to organize, carry, own first aid for mental health programs for adults. All course participants receive an instructive and detailed handbook on first aid for mental health. The training material includes film clips and group exercises. Additional courses for working with youth (MHFA Youth) and older people (MHFA Elderly) are also available.

Instructor course content

  • The training provides an overview of the occurrence of various forms of mental illness in Sweden, providing detailed knowledge of the signs and symptoms of various mental disorders , particularly depression, suicidal proximity, psychotic disorders and anxiety disorders and the treatment available.
  • The course provides knowledge on how to recognize and intervene in crises such as self-injury, suicide proximity, panic attacks, trauma and acute psychotic state.
  • The course teaches how to receive and acknowledge that information and how to encourage those in need to seek appropriate psychiatric help, encouraging the use of various self-help strategies.
  • The program is based on scientific evidence and expert consensus.

Eligibility

The course is aimed at people in the humanity professions, for example, staff in social services, schools, police, prison service and fire department, individual and family members, disability and elderly care, ambulance staff, district nurses but also the voluntary sector and the public. The requirements for becoming an instructor is to have your own good social functioning, ability to communicate and work as a teacher and have a positive attitude towards people with mental health problems.

Price

22 500 SEK (excluding VAT). The course fee includes refreshments and lunch on course dates, as well as literature.

  • For individuals or smaller groups who wish to become instructors in MHFA, we offer "open" courses that are announced at the Karolinska Institutet via KI Education (search for MHFA). 
  • For regions/municipalities/organisations interested in organising a local course to train MHFA  instructors please be in direct contact with KI Education and Project leader Oliver Bartsch

Mental Health First Aid (12 - 14 hours training)

The course Mental Health First Aid is provided in three different versions; adult, youth and elderly, and is performed by trained MHFA instructors.

The adult and elderly course is 12 hours while the youth course is 14 hours.

Are you or your team interested in Mental Health First Aid?

Trained instructors can be found all over Sweden and you can find active instructors on our list of instructors (sorted by county)

LIST OF INSTRUCTORS 2020

Contact

Project leader

Oliver Bartsch

Telephone: +46 (0)70-616 23 99

Email: oliver.bartsch@ki.se

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program was founded in 2001 by Australian couple Betty Kitchener and Professor Tony Jorm.

Since 2001, the program has spread from Australia to over 20 countries. More information on Mental Health First Aid International and Mental Health First Aid Australia, at https://mhfa.com.au/