Media event date: 
28 May 2020
Date published: 
27 May 2020
Media type: 
Media release
General public

Medical students across Australia will soon receive basic mental health first aid training to ensure they can recognise and respond to the extra stresses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Government will provide $690,000 to the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand to support mental health first aid training for all medical students.

The Government recognises that many Australians are experiencing anxiety, loneliness, and financial and family stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures needed to contain it.

The Government funding will provide first level mental health training through an online course specifically designed for medical students by Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Australia.

Using case studies, videos and other resources, the course shows the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, where and how to get help and what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective.

As well as learning to recognise others’ problems, the course will remind Australian medical students to monitor their own mental health and wellbeing.

It will help our future doctors through this unprecedented period, and equip them to help others including family and friends.

Supporting mental health and suicide prevention remains one of the Government’s highest priorities.

In response to the mental health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, on 15 May the Morrison Government announced $48.1 million to support the Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan approved by the National Cabinet.

This investment is in addition to approximately $500 million for mental health and suicide prevention announced by the Government since 30 January, including $64 million for suicide prevention and $74 million for preventative mental health services, and a significant proportion of the $669 million telehealth package to support MBS subsidised mental health services delivered by GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

MHFA Australia is also receiving more than $4.4 million from the Commonwealth under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program.

This funding supports MHFA Australia’s national network of instructors and development of relevant training resources.

Through record investments in mental health services and support, with expenditure estimated to be $5.2 billion this year alone, the Australian Government continues to demonstrate its firm commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians.