don’t harden up… HEARTEN UP.

Telling someone to ‘harden up’ and just ‘get on with it’ is effectively telling them to ignore and suppress how they feel.

Not only is this unhealthy, but the exact opposite of good mental health.

When we talk with someone about our challenges and issues, we dramatically increase our wellbeing. Especially in the case of depression and anxiety.

Humans are creatures that thrive with connection and camaraderie. We always have been. But somewhere along the way, we devalued sharing our stories and learning through conversation. And it has been to our collective detriment as people and communities.

Suicide is at emergency levels, with 10x more deaths than the national road toll…

Opening up and heartening up is the start of your recovery journey and critical to not becoming a heart-breaking statistic. 

Mental Health First Aid training

A 12-hour course developed and accredited by MHFA, that equips participants to assist people who may be developing or already have a mental health problem, or in a mental health crisis, until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves.

We deliver MHFA training online, face-to-face, or a combination of both, for businesses and organisations, as well as others open to the public for anyone to register.

Community Program

Our Hearten Up community program delivers mental health first aid training to people living in regional areas, where the scourge of suicide is statistically higher, and resources often less readily available.

We partner with businesses and corporates to deliver this training at no cost to participants, removing the primary barrier regional people often face.

I completed this training and immediately felt empowered to confidently work with people in need of help in tough mental health times.

The facilitator Joel was amazing. He has a wonderful ability to draw all the participants into activities that opened the training into a different lens and helped us be part of the training rather than just a spectator.

I have already used these skills and they made me feel useful. The people that I speak to feel more comfortable when they know that you have had training and they can discuss issues that perhaps they would not normally bring up.

Neil Funston

Training participant

I work in a male dominated industry, my training could be helpful there where there is a lot of stigma against men and depression.

The course was delivered and handled respectfully and Joel has an enormous amount of passion that really made the experience easy.

It gave me so much more confidence in approaching friends, family and work colleagues in checking in on them.


Training participant

Founder & CEO

Joel ‘JC’ Clapham was a young man on the rise, who in late 2013, seemingly had it all: 31, married with three healthy children, a home in suburban Melbourne, and an award-winning rising star in the not-for-profit financial services industry.

But in 2016, Joel broke down and nearly lost himself completely. 

As a former cog in the corporate machine, Joel knows from his own experience how critical it is that businesses and organisations are both capable and comfortable in supporting their people. Because that’s what they are… people

Joel is now a freelance writer, storyteller and comedian on the themes of mental health, fatherhood, good masculinity and empathy, as well as an accredited instructor in Mental Health First Aid. 

Through Hearten Up, Joel brings together his personal story, experiences, humour, compassion, and training, to help bring more heart to an often-hard world.   

Joel Clapham is a wonderful advocate for mental health. He is open about his own struggles and isn’t afraid to discuss difficult topics.

Generous with his knowledge and time, his insights and practical advice have been invaluable for our audiences.

He’s articulate and a terrific performer, both on camera and as a speaker. He’s also approachable and professional. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with him!

Lisa Annese

Chief Executive Officer, Diversity Council Australia


Improving Wangaratta’s mental health


Our founder’s home town of Wangaratta, in northeast Victoria, faces the same challenges with mental health and suicide that all regional towns do:

  • Higher prevalence of mental ill-health
  • Fewer services to support this higher occurrence
  • Much higher rate of suicide.

Driven by a deep desire to do something about this, Hearten Up has committed to a pilot project of training 15 men in the Wangaratta region in Mental Health First Aid, at no cost to them.

Our clients