WorkplaceAid: a trial on improving mental health and physical first aid skills in the workplace


Project Details

The WorkplaceAid study was launched in September 2014, with support from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and in collaboration with the Australian Red Cross First Aid Training Program.  

It will evaluate whether MHFA training, delivered in online learning or blended learning (online plus face-to-face) modes, leads to improvements in mental health first aid knowledge, a reduction in stigmatizing attitudes, increased confidence in supporting a person in the social network with a mental health problem and increased self-reported supportive behaviours if someone in their social network develops a mental health problem. It will evaluate the effects of the training on participants’ personal help-seeking if they have a mental health problem and on their own mental health.

Recruitment is open to Public Service employees from VIC and ACT until December 2016. The study explores how undertaking one of the courses offered impacts on employees’ knowledge, attitudes and skills for assisting someone in the workplace, or in their social circle, with a mental health problem or a physical injury. Following completion of an online baseline questionnaire, participants are randomly assigned into one of the following courses:

  1. eLearning Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) (6-hours)

    This online course teaches an Action Plan for responding to emerging mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and substance use, as well as mental health crises, including suicidal thoughts and behaviours, panic attacks, traumatic events, severe psychotic states, severe effects from substance use and aggressive behaviours.

  2. Blended eLearning MHFA (6-hours eLearning plus a 4 hour face-to-face session)

    On completion of the 6-hour eLearning Mental Health First Aid course (described above), participants attend the 4-hour session which reviews the contents of the online course through quizzes, discussion and case studies. It includes role plays to give participants a more concrete experience in applying the MHFA Action Plan in different situations and settings.

  3. eLearning Provide First Aid course (4 hours) This online course teaches the fundamental principles, knowledge and skills to provide emergency care for injuries and illnesses in the home or the workplace.

Immediately on course completion, participants are sent a link to complete the post questionnaire. Another link is sent one year and two years after training.

The study will evaluate the longer-term effects of the training over 2 years on the above outcomes. It will answer the practical question about whether the Blended eLearning MHFA course (containing the ‘in person’ component) is superior to the eLearning only version. It will be the first comparison of Blended MHFA with the eLearning-only MHFA training. It will also compare the strengths and weaknesses of each mode of training, in terms of learner satisfaction, time and costs.


Professor Anthony Jorm

Dr Nicola Reavley

Mr Stefan Cvetkovski

Ms Julie-Anne Fischer


Dr Claire Kelly (MHFA Australia)

Ms Betty Kitchener  (MHFA Australia)

Ms Nataly Bovopoulos  (MHFA Australia)

Australian Red Cross First Aid Training Program


NHMRC Project Grant

Research Group

Population Mental Health

School Research Themes

Prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (including cancer), and promotion of mental health, Data science, health metrics and disease modeling

Key Contact

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

Department / Centre

Centre for Mental Health

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