Central Highlands Rural Health (CHRC) is offering Mental Health First Aid training to anyone in the Hepburn community who would like to understand how to talk about mental health and help someone in need.

The vision of Mental Health First Aid Australia (MHFA) is for a community where everyone has the first aid skills to support people with mental health problems. MHFA training is based on the expert consensus of people with lived experience of mental health problems and professionals.

Brian Dunn, Coordinator Mental Well-being at CHRC, is an accredited Mental Health First Aid instructor and has been presenting the course for five years.

The offering is timely. Before the more stringent restrictions were imposed, CHRH’s survey Health During COVID-19 and Beyond indicated that people were experiencing greater levels of loneliness and anxiety and might need a higher level of support at this time.

Under normal circumstances the training is offered over two days, face to face, but this year it will be presented as a blended online course: the first component, self-directed online learning, will be  followed up by two video-conferencing sessions which allow the development of practical skills in a group environment.

During the training, you will learn how to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health problems or a crisis, such as thoughts of suicide, and you’ll gain the confidence to give the most effective support you can, including when and how to access professional help.

The first component costs $55 and takes about five to seven hours to complete. To enrol, go to the MHFA website and choose Blended Online MHFA Community. You will need to complete this component before participating in the video-conferencing sessions.

The second component is free for people who live, work or study in Hepburn Shire. The two sessions will be held on Tuesday, 22 and 29 September from 1.30 to 4.00. To register or for more information, contact Brian Dunn on 5321 6587 or briand@hhs.vic.gov.au

Registration for Component 2 closes on Sept 17, 2020.