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Exploring the role of mental health first aid officers in workplaces: A qualitative study using case study methodology


Bovopoulos, N and La Montagne, AD and Martin, A and Jorm, A, Exploring the role of mental health first aid officers in workplaces: A qualitative study using case study methodology, International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 11, (6) pp. 366-381. ISSN 1753-8351 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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DOI: doi:10.1108/IJWHM-06-2018-0082


Purpose - An emerging trend in Australian workplaces is to appoint staff trained in mental health first aid as mental health first aid officers (MHFAOs), similar to physical first aid officers (PFAOs) focused on physical health emergencies. The purpose of this paper is to better understand the nature of MHFAO roles in workplaces and develop recommendations for other workplaces.

Design/methodology/approach - A case study methodology was used, with semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with multiple individuals within five diverse organisations.

Findings - The results indicated that organisations tended to differ in their approach to implementation, based on their level of experience. There was a strong agreement across organisations on the benefits and challenges they have experienced with the role.

Practical implications - Organisational representatives highlighted some important differences between PFAO and MHFAO roles. Respondents across all organisations agreed that MHFA training should ideally be offered to all staff if feasible, not only MHFAOs. The greatest challenge experienced by respondents was inadequate support to, and internal resourcing for, MHFAO roles. Respondents suggested that workplaces provide more support and training to MHFAOs.

Originality/value - This is the first study to explore and describe the experiences of workplaces with MHFAOs. Recommendations are made to assist interested organisations in these efforts.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:workplace health, health and safety, mental health literacy, mental health first aid
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Human resources and industrial relations
Research Field:Human resources management
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Occupational health
UTAS Author:Martin, A (Professor Angela Martin)
ID Code:128858
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2018-10-18
Last Modified:2018-12-05

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