The Mental Health First Aid Conversations About Suicide Trial

Project Details

The Mental Health First Aid Conversations About Suicide Trial

The University of Melbourne, the Victorian Men’s Shed Association (VMSA) and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia are working together to investigate the effectiveness of the Mental Health First Aid Conversations About Suicide (MHFA-CAS) course. This project will offer important insights about reducing suicidal risk in Australian men.

This project is part of the larger The Buoy Project led by Professor Jane Pirkis, involving several projects with a focus on the prevention of suicide in boys and men.

What is this research about?

MHFA Australia has developed public education courses that teach community members to recognise when someone is experiencing a mental health problem and provide them with appropriate support (known as mental health first aid). The MHFA-CAS course is a specialised four-hour course focused on recognising and supporting people with suicidal thoughts. It aims to improve participants’ confidence and skills in supporting someone in their social network, such as a friend or family member, who is feeling suicidal. The course is based on suicide prevention best practice guidelines and is delivered by instructors who are trained and accredited by MHFA Australia.

The course will be implemented in Men’s Sheds across Victoria with the aim of reaching older men, who have the highest suicide rate. Men’s Sheds are community organisations that provide a communal space for men to meet, socialise, learn new skills and voluntarily take part in practical activities with other men (for more information see

The course will be offered to local Men’s Shed member at no cost for the Men’s Shed and their members involved. Men’s Sheds will either immediately offer the course to their local Shed members (i.e. intervention group) or offer delayed access after a waiting period of 7 months (i.e. control group). Whether the Men’s Shed is able to offer the course immediately or not is determined at random, like drawing names out of a hat.

What’s involved?

We will be asking men who have enrolled in the MHFA-CAS course through their local Men’s Shed to complete a set of surveys to better understand the effect on helping intentions and behaviours towards people who are suicidal, suicide beliefs and stigmatising attitudes. Enhancing the knowledge, attitudes and supportive actions of social networks and peers of older men is a potential pathway for reducing mental illness and suicidal risk in males.

Any information collected as part of this study will be confidential and can only be accessed by the University of Melbourne research team.

Study participants will be asked to:

  • Enrol in the MHFA-CAS course offered through their local Men’s Shed
  • Complete three surveys at various stages of the study
  • Each survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete

How to get in touch

For more information about the study or to express your interest please contact:
Sanne Oostermeijer  
E: or T: +61 3 83446169


Project team

Professor Nicola Reavley (University of Melbourne) | E:
Dr Amy Morgan (University of Melbourne) | E:
Dr Sanne Oostermeijer (University of Melbourne) | E:
Dr Alyssia Rossetto (MHFA Australia) | E:
Dr Claire Kelly (MHFA Australia) | E:
Ms Barbara Look (VMSA) | E:
Mr Lindsay Oates (VMSA) | E:

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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