Open Arms partners with RSL to deliver mental health training

Open Arms welcomes its partnership with the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) to deliver mental health training to any volunteers in the veteran community.

National Manager of Open Arms, Stephanie Hodson said "most people with thoughts of suicide will signal their distress and invite help. 

"These workshops give everyone the opportunity to learn skills that will help them to respond and assist."

Up to 7,000 volunteers across Australia are expected to access training over the next three years to enhance their capability to recognise ‘at risk’ veterans, and provide intervention and support.

Three courses are available at no cost to participants:

  1. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
  2. Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
  3. Suicide alertness for Everyone (safeTALK)

MHFA 2-day workshops teach simple, practical skills for helping a family member, friend, co-worker or other person who is experiencing a mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and/or substance use problems.

ASIST 2-day workshops provide skills to intervene with someone having thoughts of suicide, working with them to create a safety plan and to help them feel less overwhelmed and suicidal.

safeTALK is a half-day workshop that prepares anyone to become more suicide-alert. safeTALK-trained helpers can help people to recognise the signs and take action by connecting veterans with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.

"We thank the RSL for working in partnership with us to help educate people on the myths and misunderstandings around mental illness, and to actively reduce stigma for veterans" Dr Hodson said.  

The free training opportunities are available to anyone seeking to help family, friends, co-workers or others in the veteran community.

If you are an Ex-service organisation (ESO) that would like to get involved with this training please contact