Mental health first aid by Australian tertiary staff: Application rates, modes, content, and outcomes

Joseph A. Carpini, Joanne Chandra, Janelle Lin, Rainbow Teo, Nikita Truong, Emma Boyne, Tricia Wylde, Rhonda Clifford, Deena Ashoorian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Mental health problems are a growing challenge in tertiary institutions warranting psycho-educational intervention programmes such as mental health first aid (MHFA) that provide training to identify and support affected individuals. The present study assesses the impact of MHFA interventions on tertiary students and staff. Specifically, we examine (1) MHFA application rates and the types of mental health issues encountered, (2) how MHFA was provided, (3) application of the MHFA action plan, and (4) perceived outcomes of MHFA. Methods: MHFA-trained staff within a tertiary institution were electronically surveyed. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics, whereas abductive coding yielded qualitative themes. Results: Ninety participants completed the questionnaire (26%). Fifty-seven percentage of respondents had applied MHFA within the tertiary context. All participants reported applying MHFA in response to anxiety or depression at least once. Anxiety (37%) and depression (27%) were the most frequently encountered mental health issues. All participants had administered MHFA face-to-face, with telephone calls (35%) and text messaging (33%) also frequently employed. On average, participants reported completing 4.2 (out of 5) MHFA action plan actions, with 47% completing all actions. Most participants believed that their intervention was helpful (88%) with 65% of recipients seeking professional assistance. Recipients experienced perceived positive affective responses, which were also associated with approach strategies. Conclusions: MHFA is widely applied in the tertiary context through a variety of modes. Most interventions featured at least four of the recommended MHFA action plan actions. The outcomes of MHFA were largely positive, suggesting that MHFA is an effective early intervention in the tertiary context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1234-1242
Number of pages9
Journal Early Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number5
Early online date25 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Mental health first aid by Australian tertiary staff: Application rates, modes, content, and outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this