Mental health first aid training for seniors and those working with older people will take place across NSW to help identify and lead people to mental health support earlier. Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies today announced community organisations across the State will share in $200,000 in 2018/19 from the NSW Government to deliver the training.

“Often mental health issues experienced by older people can go undetected. These workshops will mean problems can be detected earlier and help reached sooner,” Mrs Davies said. “Those who receive the training will be able to give initial assistance and then advice about where to go for help, if needed. The NSW Government is committed to improving the wellbeing of seniors and this initiative is just one piece of the puzzle.”

Funding will be provided to the following organisations to conduct the Older Persons Mental Health First Aid (OPMFHA) training:

· Wesley Mission – $75,000 to deliver OPMHFA training in Sydney, South Eastern Sydney (including St Vincent’s Health Network), Northern Sydney, Southern NSW, Murrumbidgee and Far West Local Health Districts
· Set2Learn – $50,000 to deliver OPMHFA training in South Western Sydney, Nepean Blue Mountains, Western Sydney and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health Districts
· St John Ambulance Society Australia NSW – $30,000 to deliver OPMHFA training in Hunter New England and Western NSW Local Health Districts
· Australian Red Cross Society – $30,000 to deliver OPMHFA training in Mid North Coast and Northern NSW Local Health Districts
· Central Coast Local Health District (mental health service) – $12,500 to deliver OPMHFA training in Central Coast Local Health District.

All successful organisations have identified experienced trainers to complete instructor training with Mental Health First Aid Australia, with a further $100,000 project funding provided to cover the costs of instructor training.

In 2018-19 the NSW Government will invest $100 million as part of the Government’s 10-year vision for mental health reform in NSW, recognising that improving mental health outcomes for the people of NSW involves a whole of government reform agenda.

The Older Person Mental Health First Aid training workshops will build on the successful Youth Mental Health First Aid training workshops funded by the NSW Government and delivered by Wesley Mission in 2016-17.

The CEO of Wesley Mission, the Rev Keith Garner, AM, said Wesley Mission was delighted with the opportunity to provide Older Persons Mental Health First Aid training. “The mental health challenges facing older Australians are growing and becoming more complex,” Mr Garner said.

“Mental Health First Aid training is important for early intervention, maintaining the dignity and well-being of individuals and building our community’s capacity to care.”
Older Person Mental Health First Aid training is expected to commence across NSW from October this year, with successful organisations promoting the training and taking registrations in their delivery regions.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more information on where to find mental health services in your community contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.