Mental health first aid training in a workplace setting: A randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN13249129]

Kitchener, Betty A.; Jorm, Anthony F.
January 2004
BMC Psychiatry;2004, Vol. 4, p23
Academic Journal
Background: The Mental Health First Aid training course was favorably evaluated in an uncontrolled trial in 2002 showing improvements in participants' mental health literacy, including knowledge, stigmatizing attitudes, confidence and help provided to others. This article reports the first randomized controlled trial of this course. Methods: Data are reported on 301 participants randomized to either participate immediately in a course or to be wait-listed for 5 months before undertaking the training. The participants were employees in two large government departments in Canberra, Australia, where the courses were conducted during participants' work time. Data were analyzed according to an intention-to-treat approach. Results: The trial found a number of benefits from this training course, including greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, improved concordance with health professionals about treatments, and decreased stigmatizing attitudes. An additional unexpected but exciting finding was an improvement in the mental health of the participants themselves. Conclusions: The Mental Health First Aid training has shown itself to be not only an effective way to improve participants' mental health literacy but also to improve their own mental health. It is a course that has high applicability across the community.


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