Mental Health First Aid for allied health clinical educators

Kristin Lo1, Mr Geoffrey Ahern2,3, Dr Alyssia Rosetto4,5, Dr Melanie Farlie6

1Monash University, Frankston, Australia, 2Deakin University, Burwood, Australia, 3Eastern Health/Victorian Police Mental Health and Police (MHaP) Response, Box Hill, Australia, 4University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 5MHFA England, London, United Kingdom, 6Monash Health, Clayton, Australia

Abstract:

Aim:
To determine whether providing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to clinical educators increases confidence to support students with mental health (MH) issues, helps recognise and support people with MH issues, and encourages participants to provide help by increasing MHFA knowledge.

Allied health clinical educators from a tertiary health service attended a 2-day MHFA course. Participants completed a pre and post workshop evaluation questionnaire. Quantitative data was analysed using independent t-tests with Welch correction and an alpha level of 0.05. Qualitative data was analysed using content analysis.

Twenty-four clinical educators attended. Pre (n=21) and post (n=23) surveys were completed. The confidence to manage students with MH issues increased significantly t(34.4)=5.868, p<0.0001. The difference in the MHFA management plan (A.L.G.E.E) score for the depression/suicide scenario was t(30.4)=5.39, p <0.0001 and for the post-traumatic stress disorder/anxiety scenario was t(30)=2.146, p=0.0401. The MH knowledge increased significantly t(24.8)=3.94, p=0.0006. The key behaviours that the participants were going to change as a result of this workshop were: continuing to have conversations with students about MH issues, stop being judgemental of people with MH issues and to start using A.L.G.E.E.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
MHFA increases clinical educator’s confidence to manage students with mental health issues, their ability to identify appropriate management strategies and encourages them to speak to students about MH issues.

Biography:

Dr Kristin Lo is a physiotherapist and has completed her PhD in strategies to support student fitness to practise (FTP) which includes mental / physical health, professionalism, clinical competency, communication and recognition of limits).

In her research she found that 1. a number of students presented with mental health issues that have potential to impact on their clinical placements and 2. Allied Health clinical educators were not confident in supporting students with mental health FTP issues. This was the impetus for the work.