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

Bovopoulos, N, La Montagne, AD, Martin, A ORCID: 0000-0003-0109-1218 and Jorm, A 2018 , 'Exploring the role of mental health first aid officers in workplaces: A qualitative study using case study methodology' , International Journal of Workplace Health Management , doi: 10.1108/IJWHM-06-2018-0082.

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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 Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Bovopoulos, N and La Montagne, AD and Martin, A and Jorm, A
Keywords: workplace health, health and safety, mental health literacy, mental health first aid
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Workplace Health Management
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN: 1753-8351
DOI / ID Number: 10.1108/IJWHM-06-2018-0082
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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