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St John Launches Online Mental Health First Aid Course

With the mental health of New Zealanders top of mind as the country grapples with the impact of COVID-19, help to address the matter is now more accessible.

St John has launched an online version of its popular Mental Health First Aid course.

Until now, the course was only available for participation in a classroom setting. As this was not possible during the country’s response to COVID-19 under Alert Levels 3 and 4, the St John First Aid Training team worked quickly to adapt the existing MHFA course for online delivery.

Launched in 2018, the purpose of the course is to reduce the stigma of talking about mental health and providing New Zealanders with important tools to enable them to recognise and respond to individuals experiencing mental health concerns.

St John National Programme and Development Manager, Gabrielle Wildbore M.Ed says the new online course offers a flexible learning option.

“St John is committed to improving the health outcomes of all New Zealanders; being able to offer this course online means we can equip a greater number of New Zealanders with the confidence and skills to safely manage the initial support of their friends, family and colleagues and guide them to seeking professional help if they need it.

“What’s unique about the online course is that participants can learn at their own pace, whenever and wherever they like. The new course is made up of easy-to-consume modules and can be completed online in approximately five hours and it includes the same high-quality content as the classroom-based course.”

The St John Mental Health First Aid course has been carefully designed for the New Zealand context, drawing on trusted international and local best practice resources and research. Due diligence, peer review and customer scrutiny were followed by a three-month pilot.

Participants are taught how to understand the signs that someone may be struggling, how to talk to them, helpful things they can say and do, and how to support individuals in seeking help. The course covers topics including anxiety, depression, problem gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as suicide and self-harm.

To find out more and to make a booking, visit

Classroom-based sessions of the St John Mental Health First Aid training course are resuming in locations across the country, following all recommended COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

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