Betty Kitchener AM
Changing the way we think about mental health, one person at a time

MASTER OF NURSING, 1998; BACHELOR OF NURSING, 1994; GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN COMMUNITY COUNSELLING, 1990; GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN SPECIAL EDUCATION, 1987

As an esteemed UC graduate, Betty Kitchener has unselfishly sacrificed her time and resources for the betterment of thousands of people across the world. As the co-founder of the Mental Health First Aid Program (MHFA), Betty has created an amazingly comprehensive system for training members of the public and healthcare professionals how to recognise and care for those with mental health problems.

Since founding the Mental Health First Aid Program in 2001, the program has spread to 20 countries, and there are now over 1,000 accredited MHFA instructors and over 350,000 Australians have received the training. The MHFA Program has received many awards and recognitions, and even U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama has taken the training.

Beginning her UC journey in 1987, Betty has since earned four different qualifications from UC, all of which have had a profound impact on her career as a nurse and educator. "My education degree helped me develop curriculum and teach Mental Health First Aid courses," Betty says. "My two nursing degrees informed my knowledge about health and illnesses and how to undertake research." Betty was also a tutor to students in Physiology and Anatomy, and also tutored Aboriginal students.

In 2015, Betty was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her founding and development of the MHFA Program. Betty is also a 2011 inductee of the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and in 2014 was listed as one of Australia's 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review.

When she isn't teaching MHFA courses or traveling around the world, Betty is an Adjunct Professor at Deakin University. She has authored over a dozen books, training manuals, and journal articles, as well as recorded two educational CDs.

For her outstanding work in shaping international mental health care, we are honored to call Betty Kitchener a UC alumna!

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Nursing and Midwifery