First Aid Training for Parents of Teenagers - a Randomized Controlled Trial (TPOT Study)


Project Details

For any enquiries about the project, please contact Julie-Anne Fischer.

This project was launched in September 2011. It aims to teach parents of teenagers aged 12-15 across Australia the skills to recognize and respond to mental health problems and physical injuries in teenagers. Parents are randomly assigned to one of the following:

  1. Youth Mental Health First Aid course (14 hours in person) which teaches adults how to assist a teenager who is developing a mental health problem, (such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders or substance misuse) or is experiencing a mental health crisis (such as suicidal thoughts and behaviours, non-suicidal self-injury, panic attacks, traumatic events, acute effects of drug or alcohol use and severe psychotic states).
  2. Red Cross Provide First Aid course (15 hours in person) which teaches the skills and knowledge required to provide a First Aid response, life support, management of casualty(s), the incident and other first aiders, in a range of situations, including in the home, workplace or within the community, until the arrival of medical or other assistance. 

A brief phone interview is required by both the teenager and parent, before the parent can attend their free course (teenagers do not attend the training). Parents are asked about their knowledge about mental and physical first aid, confidence in supporting a teenager with a mental or physical health problem, self-reported supportive behaviours if their teenager or someone they know develops a mental or physical health problem, perceptions of their own mental health and attitudes toward mental illness. Teenagers are asked about their intentions to seek help and actual help-seeking from family and professionals for mental health problems depicted in vignettes, perceptions of support from the parent if the teenager develops a mental health problem, perceptions of their own mental health, perceptions of general social support from the parent and attitudes toward mental illness.

An annual phone interview is conducted with each parent and teenager pair. The project will assess whether parental training has a positive impact on the teenager’s perception of support, help-seeking, mental health or an injury needing assistance, over the adolescent period.

A major focus of this study is the teenager as the recipient of first aid actions provided by their parent; in most other studies, the recipients cannot be contacted and benefits of the training must be inferred from reports of course attendees.

Recruitment closed on 31 March 2016 but annual phone interviews are still underway until April 2017.


Professor Tony Jorm

Adjunct Professor Betty Kitchener (Mental Health First Aid Australia and Deakin University)

Dr Claire Kelly (Mental Health First Aid Australia and Deakin University)

Dr Laura Hart

Dr Marie Yap

Associate Professor Nicola Reavley

Stefan Cvetkovski

Julie Fischer


Australian Red Cross First Aid training program

MHFA Australia



Research Group

Population Mental Health

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and promotion of mental health

Key Contact

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

Department / Centre

Centre for Mental Health

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