Plain Language Statement

What is the Workplace Aid project about?

The project will explore how undertaking one of the courses below impacts on participants’ knowledge, attitudes and skills for assisting someone in the workplace with a mental health problem or a physical injury. Participants will be randomly placed into one of the following courses:

1. eLearning Mental Health First Aid (6-hours)
2. Blended eLearning Mental Health First Aid (6-hours eLearning plus a 4-hour face-to-face session)
3. eLearning Provide First Aid course (4 hours)

The project will evaluate whether:

• Mental Health First Aid training, delivered in eLearning or Blended format (eLearning plus face-to-face) leads to improvements in: mental health first aid knowledge, stigmatizing attitudes, confidence in supporting someone at work with a mental health problem, self-reported supportive behaviours if someone within the workplace develops a mental health problem, and participant mental health.
• Provide First Aid training delivered by eLearning results in better knowledge of how to respond to physical injuries and emergencies.

The project will also compare the strengths and weaknesses of each mode of training in terms of learner satisfaction, time and costs.

Who is running the project?
The project is being conducted by a team within the Centre for Mental Health, School of Population and Global Health at The University of Melbourne in collaboration with staff from Mental Health First Aid Australia. The Chief Investigators are Professor Anthony Jorm, Dr Nicola Reavley and Mr Stefan Cvetkovski from the University of Melbourne and Ms Betty Kitchener from Mental Health First Aid Australia.

Has ethics approval been obtained?
Yes, this project has been approved by The University of Melbourne's Human Ethics Advisory Committee, ID: 1341345.2.

Who is funding this project?
The project is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council with additional support from the Mental Health First Aid Australia, in collaboration with the Australian Red Cross First Aid Training Program.

Who can participate?
Employees from the Australian Public Service in Victoria and the ACT can participate. Employees who wish to complete the training during work hours must ask for their Manager's approval prior to commencement. Anyone who has undertaken Mental Health First Aid or Apply First Aid training in the past three years is ineligible to participate.

What will I be asked to do?

1. Register on the trial website at

Click on ‘Sign Up’ to complete the Registration Form. This will collect your demographic details and create your WorkplaceAid learning account. To provide your consent to participate, click on ‘I accept’ at the bottom of the registration form and click 'Save'.

2. Complete the online survey!

You will then be prompted to click on 'Go to survey'. It is preferable to set aside approximately 20 minutes to complete it in full. The survey will ask about your knowledge regarding mental and physical first aid, confidence in supporting someone at work with a mental or physical health problem, self-reported supportive behaviours if a co-worker or someone in your social circle develops a mental or physical health problem and perceptions of your own mental health.

3. Random assignment to course type

At the completion of the survey, the computer will run a program equivalent to a coin toss, which will randomly place you into ONE of the three courses on offer. Please note that once the computer has randomly assigned you into a course type, it cannot be changed.

4. Course notification via email

An automatic email will be sent to you to confirm which course you have been randomly placed in. It will also contain information on the next steps to access your course. If you delete this email, that is fine - simply log back into your WorkplaceAid learning account to access your course.

5. Complete your free course!

You can complete the course at a time that suits you over several sessions, just log back into your workplaceaid account to continue from where you left off. Weekly emails will be sent over six weeks from course commencement, to encourage course completion. Please note that as part of this research study, you will need to complete your course within 2 months of completing your first online survey.

6. Additional surveys

Participants will be asked to complete the following three additional surveys: a survey on completion of their course, a survey one year after and the final survey two years after training. This is to gauge whether skills taught were used. Should your email details change, please update them on the trial website or advise the Trial Manager (details below).

How will my confidentiality be protected?

Any data we collect from you will be stored separately from any identifying information to protect your confidentiality. This will be done using an ID number, without your name attached. Data will be held under password protection and not divulged to others. The data will be kept securely by the University for five years from the date of publication, before being destroyed. We will only report the results in a statistical summary form that will not allow individuals to be identified. While every effort will be made to protect the identity of participants, there are legal limitations to data confidentiality. For instance, it is possible for data to be subject to subpoena or freedom of information request.

What are the potential benefits of this study?
This study will provide free training to Australian Public Service employees, which will potentially help them assist a co-worker or someone in their social network who has a mental health problem or an injury needing assistance. In particular, the study will evaluate the preferred format of the newly developed eLearning Mental Health First Aid course in a workplace setting.

Are there any potential risks in taking part?
We believe there are no risks in taking part in the study. However, if you feel distressed during the survey or course, there are people you can talk to:
• Employer Assistance Program: Davidson Trahaire Corpsych on T: 1300 360 364 or E:
• if immediate attention is required after hours, call Lifeline: 13 11 14 or SANE: 1800 187 263
Please also contact the Trial Manager (details below) so that we can keep a log of any adverse events.

Where can I get further information?
To register or for more information, go to the trial website at: If you have questions about this trial or want to know more about it, please contact the Trial Manager, Julie Fischer on tel: 03 9035 6770, mobile: 0401 772 648 or email:

What if I wish to withdraw from the study?
Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. Should you wish to withdraw at any stage, or to withdraw any unprocessed data you have supplied, you are free to do so without prejudice. Your decision to participate or not, or to withdraw, will not adversely affect your dealings with The Australian Public Service, The University of Melbourne, Mental Health First Aid Australia or the Australian Red Cross in any way.

How will I receive feedback?

Once the research project has concluded, participants will be supplied with a brief summary of main findings. These will also be uploaded to the WorkplaceAid trial website. We anticipate that results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at academic conferences.

What if I have concerns about the study?

If you have concerns about the ethics of the study, you are welcome to contact the Executive Officer, Human Research Ethics, The University of Melbourne, Vic 3010, phone 03 8344 2073 or fax 03 9347 6739. If you have concerns about the scientific aspects of the study, please contact Dr Nicola Reavley on 03 9035 7628.