Measuring mental health first aid skills

Project Details

This project aims to develop a valid and reliable tool to measure mental health first aid skills.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training equips members of the public with skills to support someone developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis. There is strong evidence that the training improves stigma, knowledge about mental health problems and their treatments, and confidence and intentions to provide mental health first aid in trainees. But it is not clear whether training improves the quality of support provided and whether this leads to better outcomes in recipients of aid.

The Mental Health Support Scale (MHSS) was developed to help fill this evidence gap. A pool of actions that were recommended and not recommended were selected from MHFA guidelines and developed into two scales measuring either intended or provided support. Item response theory models were used to choose items that performed well across a range of mental health first aid skill level and that could discriminate between respondents with and without MHFA expertise.

The two scales – MHSS Provided and MHSS Intended - can be used to help understand whether MHFA training and other early intervention programs lead to better support provided to people with mental health problems. A recipient version of the scale that can be completed by recipients of support is currently under evaluation.

The MHSS is also being adapted and translated for use in China. The Chinese MHSS will be used to evaluate a new Chinese MHFA course under development (see


Dr Amy Morgan
Prof Tony Jorm
Prof Nicola Reavley
Prof Andrew Mackinnon
Dr Alyssia Rossetto (Mental Health First Aid Australia)
Judith Wright
Dr Long Le (Monash University)Dr Amy Morgan

Chinese adaptation
Dr Amy Morgan
Prof Nicola Reavley
Prof Yanling He (Shanghai Mental Health Centre)
Dr Shurong Lu
Zhongjie Zhang

Research Publications

Research Publications
Morgan, A. J., Wright, J., Mackinnon, A. J., Reavley, N. J., Rossetto, A., & Jorm, A. F. (2022). Development of the Mental Health Support Scale: a new measure of mental health first aid behaviors. Assessment.

Research Group

Population Mental Health

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Mental Health and Community Wellbeing

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