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Mental health first aid: strengthening its impact for aid recipients

Abstract

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a potentially valuable first response in mental healthcare. MHFA is formulated as an extension of Psychological First Aid, the latter being a more focal response to crises and disasters. MHFA is a broader strategy which aims to improve the general public’s immediate response to mental ill health and mental health crisis. While its effect on those trained in MHFA has been promising, recent meta-analyses have failed to detect any significant benefit to individuals who receive support from an MHFA trainee. Such outcomes highlight the need to revisit the content and implementation of MHFA to optimise and realise the full potential of the concept. Possible solutions are discussed, including developing new MHFA content using methodologies that foster innovation and creativity, in addition to improving the quality and effectiveness of MHFA training.

  • psychiatry

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