Betty Kitchener AM

Mental health researcher and educator.


2014 VIC Senior Australian of the Year Finalist

Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community through mental health support, research and education programs.

As a young woman, Betty Kitchener AM trained as a teacher and worked in special education before developing a career in psychology, counselling and nursing. After experiencing several episodes of depression through which she was not well supported, Betty was motivated to expand community understanding and to develop programs that better support people with mental health issues. Her driving ethos is that everyone in the community can learn skills to help people with mental health problems.

Betty developed the innovative Mental Health First Aid program in 2000. It is a course that provides fundamental knowledge and techniques for people to use in the event of a mental health crisis. Today, Betty’s program is helping people in 20 countries around the world with more than a million people who have completed the training.

Betty is the chief executive officer of Mental Health First Aid Australia, an adjunct professor at Deakin University and the author of many first aid manuals on mental health.

Reviewed 01 October 2019

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