Teen Mental Health First Aid training: A pilot cluster randomized controlled trial


Project Details

The aim of the project is compare the effects of teen MHFA training of Year 10-12 students with a physical first aid training control group on: recognition of mental disorders, help-seeking beliefs, mental health first aid intentions, stigmatizing attitudes, confidence in supporting a peer, help provided to a peer, and mental health.

Project summary

Teen Mental Health First Aid (teen MHFA) is a new 3-hour training course for adolescents in the upper High School years. The course teaches students some skills they can use to help a peer who may be experiencing a mental health problem.

The key messages of the program were developed using the expert consensus of youth mental health consumer advocates and MHFA instructors who work with youth. The project aims to extend the evaluation to a pilot cluster randomized controlled trial, with schools randomized to receive either teen MHFA or, as a control, physical first aid training.

Over the last three years, Year 10 students in four Melbourne high schools received either teen Mental Health First Aid training or an equivalent length Apply First Aid course. They were also surveyed about their knowledge and attitudes towards mental health and mental illness, and their helping behaviours towards a peer, at three time points (before their allocated course, after the course and one year later). It is hoped that students receiving the teen Mental Health First Aid training will demonstrate significant increases in their capacity to recognise mental health problems in their peers and act appropriately to assist them.

Data collection for this project is almost complete, with the last two student cohorts to be followed up in August 2017.


Professor Tony Jorm

Dr Laura Hart

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

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

Dr Alyssia Rossetto

Steven Cvetkovski


Australian Rotary Health Project Grant

Research Group

Population Mental Health

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

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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