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An Experimental Study on Mental Health Literacy Among University Students 


The study aims to find out the outcome of MHFA Students' course among students:

  • To measure the mental health literacy of students before and after the MHFA course
  • To evaluate if students have gained knowledge about mental health
  • To ascertain if the MHFA course equips students to identify early signs and encourage help-seeking behaviour among peers
  • To compare the mental health literacy among students who have learnt MHFA and those who have not

Relevance of the Study

Declining Mental Health of Students

The Indian student population is over 364 million. With 1 in 7 young adults (aged 15 to 24) reporting that they feel depressed, India's student mental health is at a low point. 

  • A World Health Organization (WHO) study states that at least 20 % of young people are likely to experience some form of mental illness such as depression, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and suicidal behaviours.
  • Research by WHO also reveals that failing to address adolescent mental health issues leads to the worsening of the issues and subsequently extending to adulthood, impairing physical and mental health lifelong.

Peer to Peer Support System

83% of students believe that it is better to address mental health issues by sharing it with others rather than dealing with it alone. MHFA India provides this peer-to-peer support system for students by equipping them with mental health literacy and supportive practices as they prepare to join the country’s workforce and explore their full potential.


Mental Health Education

Today, by providing scientific mental health training to students, educational institutions can build a healthy, safe, and positive learning environment for students. The MHFA India training programme is a science-based mental health course that will introduce a strong peer-to-peer preventive support system on your campus.


The MHFA international course has been measured for its impact in multiple English-speaking countries, the course is yet to be tested for impact in India. MHFA India understands that cultural differences must be considered while gauging the effectiveness of the course. Therefore, it is important that we evaluate the outcome of the course among students in India.

Mental Health First Aid 

The help provided to a person developing a mental health problem, experiencing the worsening of an existing mental health problem or crisis is called Mental Health First Aid. The Blended Online MHFA for Students is an internationally-acclaimed training customised to the needs of students. 

Why Should Students and Faculty Learn Mental Health First Aid?

  • Ability to use self-help techniques or seek support from colleagues
  • Positiveness and confident about mental health issues 
  • Ability to identify possible mental health issues among their peers
  • Vocabulary and confidence to communicate about mental ill-health, suicidal thoughts, or self-harm behaviour (Holmes et al, 2018)


Expected Outcome 

  • Awareness about creating an inclusive and mentally healthy institution
  • Building mental health literacy that results in increasing knowledge, shifting stigmatising attitudes and engaging in supportive behaviour 

Research Methodology

Research Design Experimental method with intervention

Scale Used The Mental Health Literacy Scale, developed by Professor Anthony Jorm et al 1997 MHFA International authorises MHFA India to use the scale for research purposes. 

Sample College-going students between the ages of 18 and 25, able to understand English 

Sample Size Equal number of students for experimental and control group 


Phases of Research 

Phase 1.  University to engage equal number of students and faculty for Experimental and Control groups 

Phase 2. Students and faculty to be assigned randomly to Experimental and Control groups 

Phase 3. The Mental Health Literacy Scale will be administered to all the participants 

Phase 4. The Blended Online MHFA training will be provided to the Experimental group 

Phase 5. Post training, the Mental Health Literacy Scale to be administered to both the groups 

Phase 6. The data collection and organisation

Phase 7. Draft study report

Timeline for Completion

After MHFA India and the educational organisation signs the agreement for collaboration, MHFA India will train the students and faculty in two batches. Each batch will take a maximum of 2 weeks to complete the course, which includes self-paced elearning and the Instructor-led video conference sessions. Both these components are mandatory for participants to acquire the MHFA certification as Mental Health First Aider.

The training and data collection will be complete in approximately 4 weeks.


MHFA India will provide the course free of cost to all partnering educational institutions. The following services are part of our offer to participating organisations:

  1. Copy of Standard MHFA India manual for each participant
  2. Access to eLearning with videos, quizzes, and interactive elements
  3. Internationally recognised MHFA Certificate of Completion that makes each successful participant a Mental Health First Aider
  4. Accreditation certificate (Valid for 3 years)

Eligibility Criteria

This course is adapted from the current Indian 4th Edittion Standard Face-to-Face Mental Health First Aid Course for adults. Course specific content, health system information and resources related to the provision of Mental Health First Aid within India.
Course participants are required to be Indian residents and over the age of 18.