Become a Mental Health First Aider!
Every year, 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness or state of distress, with even higher rates for those working in the performing arts. Mental Health First Aid is the initial help provided to a person who may be developing or experiencing a mental health crisis, until the person receives professional help or the situation resolves. This nationally accredited two-day course teaches you practical techniques for identifying, approaching and supporting people struggling with their mental health. Similar to physical first aid courses, these skills are useful to first responders in everyday incidents and crisis situations.
Participants who successfully complete the course will gain 3 years accreditation. Each participant will also be able to take home their learning manual at the end of each course.
Please note: Since this is a nationally accredited course, Mental Health First Aid is only available to Australian residents. Ticketing fees will not be refunded by Arts Wellbeing Collective if purchased by someone ineligible for this course.
Meet your facilitators
Principal Master Instructor
Much like her pet parrot, Ping Pong, Jules Haddock is full of gaiety, passion and the odd interpretive dance. Being a sculptor and a painter, Jules initially thought she would end up as an art teacher – but found that her artistic skills marry perfectly with mental health practice.
Jules loves how her job helps “level the playing field” by allowing people to navigate their vulnerability and find their strengths, “whilst having a smile on the way out”.
She is also an author, founder of The Anxious Bird and is an active part of several mental health charities.
Before focusing on mental health, Nicole studied the physical body during her Bachelor of Applied Science but is now thrilled to be able to teach about both, since the two are “inextricably intertwined”. Nicole is also a mother to four kids (including a set of twins, or a 2-for-1 surprise, as she calls it), and knows all about the pressure of maintaining a work/life balance. Included in her family is her Groodle, who, despite not looking like her, “definitely loves people, so we have that in common”.
Nicole loves that her job allows her to connect with and empower a diverse range of people, who never fail to teach her something themselves.
Annette’s path began with performing, but her day job in student support services soon revealed a talent for motivating others. As well as formal accreditation, Annette’s ongoing experience supporting loved ones makes her a compassionate and knowledgeable MHFA instructor. She is also an astute business manager and co-founder of Shoalhaven Arts and Health.
To help her recharge, Annette’s self-care includes listening to soothing music and surrounding herself in bushland.
When asked if she had any guilty pleasure songs, Annette cheekily replied: “I try not to feel guilty about pleasure, however some folks might find the pleasure I take in listening to Luciano Pavarotti or Sinead O’Connor a little excessive.”
Ben is an accredited Mental Health First Aid instructor with 36+ years of work experience in the screen sector, alongside his personal lived experience with anxiety & depression.
As the founder of Screen Well, he has also spent the last seven years speaking to arts and entertainment industry leaders about wellbeing challenges and solutions. This passion for advocacy culminated in him making the acclaimed ABC documentary The Show Must Go On in 2019.
For groups of 10+ people
Mental Health First Aid presented by the Arts Wellbeing Collective is exclusively available to members of the Collective and/or people who work in the performing arts industry in Victoria, Australia.
Mental Health First Aid Australia offers publicly available courses, find upcoming sessions in your state or territory here.
Face-to-face training takes place over 12-14 hours across 2 days. Blended online training involves 6-8 hours of participant pre-learning followed by 4 hours of instructor-led video conferencing over 2 days.
Yes, of course, but we recommend exercising informed consent prior to applying. This means reading the learning outcomes and deciding if it’s the right time to do it for you.
The course content requires emotional and mental energy, and can be intense and exhausting for participants. We do not recommend Mental Health First Aid to those who have experienced a recent crisis or tragedy – your own wellbeing takes priority. While lived experience with mental health problems can give you a valuable perspective as a Mental Health First Aider, it is preferable that you have experienced good mental health for 12 months prior to attend the training. You can always do the training down the track if it’s not a good time right now.