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Hillsong Church is the first church in Australia recognised as a Mental Health First Aid® Skilled Workplace

Feb 15 2023

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Hillsong Church is committed to Mental Health First Aid training. Because of its efforts, Hillsong Church Australia is now recognised as a Mental Health First Aid® Skilled Workplace. The Mental Health First Aid® Workplace Recognition Program celebrates organisations across Australia that invest in developing mental health first aid skills in their people and who show a solid commitment to embedding the MHFA™ training into their organisation’s culture, through actions such as senior leadership support, relevant policies, supporting Mental Health First Aid Officers and continuous improvement.  

Every year, one in five Australians will experience a common mental illness. Mental illness is the leading cause of sickness, absence, and long-term work incapacity in Australia. More businesses are recognising the importance of managing mental health at work and the benefits of creating mentally healthy workplaces.

Hillsong volunteer and accredited Mental Health Social Worker, Sharon Pitman, brought awareness of the program to Hillsong in 2013. Not only did Sharon help to pioneer the program, she was also the first person to be trained.

Since then, Hillsong Church has seen the benefits of promoting education and adopting policies and practices that create a ‘culture of care’ and is therefore committed to training and equipping its staff and volunteers nationally in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA™). Particularly during the Covid season, across two years, over 120 staff and volunteers were trained in the program online.

Mental health first aid is the initial help offered to someone experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis until the appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves. MHFA™ training equips people with the knowledge and confidence to approach or respond to someone who may need information or support.

Wendy Brown (right) – Pastoral Care Pastor and Mental Health First Aid® Licensed instructor

Wendy Brown is a Pastoral Care pastor for Hillsong Church Australia and has been a licensed Mental Health First Aid Australia Instructor for three years. Before this Wendy was a registered nurse for over 25 years and joined Hillsong Staff in 2018. Qualified to teach both adults and youth, Wendy leads the training nationally. To date, approximately 300 Hillsong staff and volunteers have been trained in mental health first aid throughout Australia. The focus for the future is to accredit even more staff and volunteers across Australia through face-to-face training programs.