Earlier this year, the National Council for Behavioral Health partnered with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation to launch teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) in the U.S., with a pilot program in eight high schools across the country.

“With teen Mental Health First Aid, we like to say, it’s okay to not be okay,” said Lady Gaga, co-founder of Born This Way Foundation on stage in Las Vegas, speaking to 16 students who had just completed the first pilot in eight schools across the country.

It was recently announced that with support from Born this Way, the tMHFA Pilot Program will expand to 20 more high schools around the country.

“Together we’ve put this program in eight schools and soon, it will be in 20 more schools,” she said. “I know for certain that I’m not stopping here. I want the teen Mental Health First Aid program in every school in this country so we can prevent teen suicide.” Watch her speak with teen Mental Health First Aiders.

Australian Rotary Health awarded a Mental Health Research Grant to Dr Laura Hart from the University of Melbourne in 2014 to trial the Teen Mental Health First Aid program, which found excellent results and is now being rolled out internationally.

This innovative new peer-to-peer program empowers young people to support each other in times of need or crisis. tMHFA is an in-person training designed to teach high school students in grades 10 to 12 about mental illnesses and how to help their friends who may be facing a mental health problem or crisis, such as suicide.

Half of all mental illnesses begin by age 14 and three-quarters by the mid-20s, making it critically important that we address the mental health needs of teens. Research has shown that many adolescents turn to peers for support, making programs like tMHFA that prepare youth themselves to respond to these situations vital. The program would not be possible without your support.

Learn more about teen mental health, the tMHFA course and the expanded pilot program.


Media contact: Jessica Cooper – (02) 8837 1900 or jessica@arh.org.au