Bipartisan Senate Bill to fund Mental Health First Aid

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Sharing some really good news from our colleagues at the National Council for Behavioral Health!

National Council Press Release$20 Million Investment an Important Step in Addressing Public Health

Washington, D.C. (March 12, 2015) — Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), with nine additional cosponsors, introduced a bill to amend the Public Service Health Act last night to authorize $20 million in grants for Mental Health First Aid training around the country. This program gives emergency services personnel, police officers, educators, primary care professionals, students and others the necessary skills to recognize mental health and substance use problems and connect people with help in their communities.

“The Senate’s strong bipartisan support of Mental Health First Aid is demonstrative that we are moving in the right direction—and with the $19 million for Mental Health First Aid in the Public Service Health Act, we can take even greater strides in supporting the one in five Americans who suffer with mental illnesses and addictions,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “The National Council is grateful to the Senate sponsors for their leadership and in supporting Mental Health First Aid’s value to the nation.”

Mental Health First Aid introduces people to risk factors and warning signs of mental health and substance use problems, and teaches them a five-step action plan to aid people in distress. Studies show that Mental Health First Aid gives people a tangible way to help others, increases their confidence in doing so and improves mental health literacy.

To date, nearly 350,000 people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid in America. Since 2014, Congress has funded an annual appropriation of $15 million for Mental Health First Aid training around the country. The National Council strongly supports the continuation of this funding in 2016, along with a new $4 million appropriation for Veterans’ Mental Health First Aid.

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