Adapted mainstream examples

Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative - AIMhi (NT)

What is it?

The Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative (AIMhi) aimed to produce evidence based health promotion strategies for people with chronic or recurring mental disorders to improve mental health outcomes, reduce physical risks and promote social and community functioning.The Indigenous stream of this program adapted and implemented a range of interventions targeting chronic and recurring mental health disorders. These included patient information systems, best practice specialist and primary care treatment protocols, best practice models of service delivery, mental health outcome measures and community based support activities. The program sought to achieve demonstrable improvements in mental health outcomes in two regions of remote northern Australia.

Background to Development

The AIMhi was a 5 year action research project undertaken by a research team led by psychiatrist Associate Professor Tricia Nagel. It engaged with managers, service providers, Aboriginal Mental Health Workers and communities to explore mental health in remote communities and to find new ways to deliver services.   

Current AIMhi program


The AIMhi research program continues to employ a team of Indigenous researchers and educators and has been rebadged as the Aboriginal and Islander Mental health initiative at Menzies School of Health Research. The research program continues to focus on the journey from primary care to specialist services and to test the effectiveness of brief therapies as early intervention strategies in mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and chronic disease settings. AIMhi has developed tools and resources that support each step of engagement of Indigenous people in services: mental health literacy, assessment, screening, early intervention, treatment and outcome measurement. These resources are integrated into a training program for service providers and subsequently into a train the trainer model. 

Links to Further Information

AIMhi NT - Australian Integrated Mental Health Initiative

Mental Health First Aid Training (National)

What is it?

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course teaches community members and health workers to give early help to adults with mental illness and to give assistance in crisis situations.The course is available in every state and territory.

Background to development

The MHFA course was originally developed in 2002, following the model successfully applied to conventional first aid. The original material was deemed inappropriate for cultural groups with different ways of understanding mental illness. For this reason, national, culturally appropriate guidelines for the provision of MHFA to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were developed.

A panel of Aboriginal people identified as experts in Aboriginal mental health participated in six independent Delphi studies investigating depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts and behaviours, deliberate self-injury, trauma and loss, and cultural considerations. The panels consisted of 20-24 participants. Panellists were presented with statements about possible first aid actions via online questionnaires.  Statements were accepted for inclusion in a guideline if they were endorsed by ≥ 90% of panellists as essential or important.

From a total of 1,016 statements shown to the panel of experts, 536 statements were endorsed (94 for depression, 151 for psychosis, 52 for suicidal thoughts and behaviours, 53 for deliberate self-injury, 155 for trauma and loss, and 31 for cultural considerations). Each study developed one guideline from the outcomes of three Delphi questionnaire rounds. Items that were rated as either essential or important, were endorsed as Mental Health First Aid Actions and used to draft the guideline documents.

Links to further information

Mental Health First Aid Guidelines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People can be downloaded from: