Enhancing the knowledge and skills of Advisory and Extension Agents in mental health issues of farmers

Australas Psychiatry. 2009 Aug;17 Suppl 1:S116-20. doi: 10.1080/10398560902948365.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to increase knowledge and skills of Advisory and Extension Agents (AEAs) in recognizing the symptoms of mental disorders, providing initial help, and offering the referral pathway for appropriate professional help.

Method: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training was provided to AEAs and knowledge and skills pre-training were compared to 6-months post-training.

Results: The MHFA training improved the AEAs' ability to recognize a mental disorder, it increased their confidence level in providing help to someone with a mental health problem, it decreased social distances and positively changed their beliefs about treatment.

Conclusion: MHFA training is effective in enhancing the mental health knowledge and skills of AEAs. The agents, who are a main line of contact of farmers, are able to recognize mental disorders of people and help them appropriately. They are more willing to work with stigmatized people and know who to refer people to for help.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / diagnosis
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / psychology*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Rural Population
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult