Skip main navigation

Applying the IDEAS Framework

How to apply the IDEAS Framework
hand holding puzzle piece missing from brain
© CQUniversity 2021

An easy to use framework is the IDEAS action plan used by CQUniversity in managing a mental health crisis situation.

  • I – Identify immediate dangers to yourself, others and the person at risk
  • D – Deal with the initial situation; approach, assess and assist where possible with the initial crisis situation
  • E – Engage in conversation and listen non-judgmentally
  • A – Assist with information and advice about support services available. Encourage the person to see professional help
  • S – Implement self-care practices following the crisis situation

Source: CQUniversity Mind Waves Mental Health Strategy, 2018.

Identify and Manage Immediate Dangers

Check for hazards and danger to:

  • Yourself
  • Others
  • And the casualty.

Nothing should stop you from calling 000 if you think the scene is not safe.

Approach, assess and assist where possible in the initial stages of a crisis situation, the following list outlines some steps to take during the situation:

  • Call 000 in an emergency
  • Make a plan
  • De-escalation techniques
  • Offer support
  • Assist with basic tasks
  • Do not make promises you cannot keep
  • Remind the person that they have taken a big step asking for help.

Engage in conversation

  • Engage with the casualty
  • Introduce yourself
  • Ask if you can help?
  • Ask what is happening?
  • Has it happened before?
  • Engage in conversation and listen non-judgmentally.


  • Don’t panic!
  • Listen to the casualty
  • Use empathy
  • Use appropriate eye contact
  • Use non-verbal communication
  • Do not to talk too much.

Assist with information

For non-emergency situations provide information about services available:

  • Mental health professionals
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Helplines, websites, written resources.

Source: CQUniversity Mind Waves Mental Health Strategy, 2018.

© CQUniversity 2021
This article is from the free online

Personal Trainer's Toolkit: Mental Health First Aid for Fitness Trainers

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education