Youth Mental Health First Aid Project update July 2021

 Written by Ian Keith 

Course trainers, mental health nurses Ann Hamden and Susanne Lampitt together with Rotary Club of Traralgon members Helen O’Brien and Ian Keith. 

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training was originally developed by husband and wife team Professor Tony Jorm and health education nurse Betty Kitchener in the year 2000. Their research project was initially funded by Australian Rotary Health (ARH). Tony is a past chair and remains on the board of MHFA Australia. He also has been a past chair of ARH’s Research Committee. 

The YMHFA Program is run by MHFA International, trading as MHFA Australia, which is a not-for-profit company.  YMHFA is now adopted in over 25 countries with more than 3 million people trained. The aim of this course is to teach participants to recognise and provide help to those people who may show signs of suffering a mental health problem. 

The course is a 14-hour face to face program run over 2 days or 4 evenings. It is attended by members of sporting clubs, community groups and any interested persons.The course is free to the participants who receive a coursebook and a completion certificate. 

The Rotary Club of Traralgon started running these courses in June 2020 after receiving the generous sponsorship of Traralgon businesses and individuals, The Russell Northe MLA Golf Day, and grants provided by Gippsland Primary Health Network and Latrobe Valley Authority. 

COVID-19 has affected the program, however, seven courses have been completed in Traralgon (3), Sale, Rosedale and Bairnsdale (2). Due to current and recent COVID-19 restrictions, the Club has partially completed further courses in Moe and Traralgon. Hopefully, by mid-August, 9 courses will have been completed. 

Our two course trainers, mental health nurses, Ann Hamden and Susanne Lampitt, have been enthusiastic and professional and have received glowing feedback from the participants. The club has received great support from Sandie Alexander (Bairnsdale Sunrise) and Di Harrison and Len Cairns (Moe) for both publicity of the courses and providing a suitable venue.T

he Rotary Club of Traralgon thanks the Traralgon Greyhound Club, the Moe Hotel, the Bairnsdale RSL and the Rosedale Football and Netball Club for making their facilities available free of charge. The Rotary Club of Traralgon will continue to run the courses in the Gippsland area.

For more information about this initiative, please see our page dedicated to the project:

Lift the Lid on Mental Health

The Club conducted a social night at the end of July with the focus on the Australian Rotary Health Lift the Lid campaign (a little early for an October event) and raised $250 for the cause.

Members universally participated with an amazing array of headwear. The winning entry was that of Ron McColl, a retired  farmer who wore a most fitting straw hat adorned with a paddock full of plastic sheep. Fund raisers included a raffle, heads and tails and a trivia quiz.  To see more go to

The Lift the Lid cause is topical at the club as we progress with our project to deliver a ‘Mental Health First Aid Training’ program.