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Youth Mental Health First Aid Course Launches In Wellington

Schools and youth services in the Wellington region will be the first in the North Island to benefit from an innovative programme supporting the mental health of young people aged 11 to 18 years old.

On May 20, Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Aotearoa new instructor training will be held in Wellington.

The evidence-based, internationally recognised programme teaches adults how to recognise and respond to youth experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis.

The five-day Youth MHFA new instructor programme will produce a cohort of people who, once accredited, can take their knowledge back to their schools, organisations, communities, and businesses to train others in Youth Mental Health First Aid.

“The research indicates that around one in three young people will experience a mental health challenge or crisis in any given year,” says MHFA Aotearoa Programme Manager Sarah Christensen. “For anyone who works with youth, would you notice or know how to respond?

“This programme gives people the skills, knowledge and importantly, the confidence, to notice and assist young people during a mental health crisis or dealing with a mental health challenge.”

Sarah says that early intervention is key with mental health, and that Youth MHFA Aotearoa is sorely needed throughout the country.

“Half of all people who have mental health challenges first experience them before they turn 18, but we also know that statistically, young people are less likely to seek or receive treatment. As adults, we have a duty of care to support youth mental health.”

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The Youth MHFA Aotearoa programme covers common mental health challenges experienced by young people including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicide and non-suicidal self-injury.

Youth MHFA Aotearoa first launched in New Zealand in 2023 in the lower South Island supported by Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group.

The Youth MHFA programme is ideal for schools – including guidance counsellors, teachers, deputy principals and deans, and learning support staff – as well as sports coaches, community youth group leaders, parents, and anyone who works with, mentors, trains, supports or cares for young people aged 11 to 18.

Youth MHFA new instructor training is now being offered in the North Island for the first time by Te Pou, the New Zealand license holder for MHFA.

Accredited Youth MHFA Aotearoa instructors have a ripple effect on their communities, making a big difference to young people, their whānau and friends, and everyone around them.

“One conversation can save a life,” says Sarah. “Like physical first aid, mental health first aid trains people to respond to those in need. It is a skill that anyone can learn, and everyone should have.”

MHFA Aotearoa also has programmes focused on adults (Standard MHFA and Workplace MHFA) available for businesses and communities.

For more information, visit or contact

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