Mental Health Training That Makes a Difference

Published on Friday, 10 June 2022 at 1:27:06 PM

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder staff recently completed a three-day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course with Beyond All Bounds.

The course was designed to improve our knowledge of mental illnesses, learn appropriate first aid strategies, help destigmatise depression, anxiety, and talking about suicide, as well as how to identify community members who may need professional help and support.

Ben Broadbridge, Founder of Beyond All Bounds said it was excellent to see a local government organisation put forward this kind of engagement and training.

“I really enjoyed the three-day training course, from the engagement sessions to the more comprehensive mental health first aid course. There was a really high level of engagement from people who are passionate and want to be there. Overall, it was a great experience," he said.

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder CEO, Andrew Brien said the training helped staff gain a better understanding of the effects of mental health in everyday life and in the workplace.

“It’s important to know how to identify when someone may need help, and to ensure they feel supported when they need it most, “he said.

The training is just one part of the $100,000 WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) suicide prevention grant, which the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is allocating to local projects that align with the Alliance Against Depression Framework.

The framework is a community-led, GP-centred initiative with four pillars of intervention including improving access to primary care and mental healthcare, support for high-risk groups and relatives, improving awareness of mental health, and engagement with key community facilitators and stakeholders.

In the Goldfields region, the City has recognised a need to improve mental health resources for Aboriginal communities, and men aged 25 to 54 who work as Farmers, Fly-In, Fly-Out workers, and Fishers.

When discussing why mental health first aid training is so important, Mr Broadbridge made a point that physical first aid has always been prevalent and normalised, despite mental health being common in the wider community.

Mental Health First Aid looks at how you can recognise symptoms in people, with a focus on early intervention and getting people treatment, but also the ability to take a really human approach and lead with a non-judgemental attitude. It teaches us to put aside our own judgements and biases to try get a deeper understanding of what people are going through.”  

“With that understanding, coupled with a blueprint and framework of how to navigate these conversations, you create increased confidence, better outcomes, and overall, a healthier workplace culture” he said.

The City thanks the WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) for their funding support.

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