WASHINGTON, DC – October 5, 2016 – The National Council for Behavioral Health is excited to announce a significant expansion in the effort to certify thousands more people in a program to help Americans better cope when mental illness strikes family, friends and coworkers.
Providence St. Joseph Health, one of the largest not-for-profit hospital systems in the United States, is giving $700,000 to increase access to Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour course that teaches people how to identify, understand and respond to signs of people with mental health and substance use problems.
Providence St. Joseph Health will train and certify 45 of its caregivers to be instructors; enabling the delivery of 1,300 of the Mental Health First Aid courses that will train 50,000 people living and working in the communities the health system serves.
One in five adults in the U.S. is expected to experience a mental illness this year and nearly 700,000 people – from police and corrections officers to teachers and bus drivers to faith leaders and parents – now have both the skills to recognize that someone needs help and the wherewithal to help them get it. But it isn’t enough. Because we are far more likely to encounter a person having a mental health or substance use problem than someone having a heart attack, we all need to be prepared.
“Mental Health First Aid is changing America’s culture,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council, the unifying voice of America’s mental health and addictions treatment organizations. “With this gift of $700,000 from Providence St. Joseph Health, we can greatly increase the impact of Mental Health First Aid USA – a program that can mean the difference between life and death.”
“If we are going to make meaningful strides toward improving mental health, we must start by providing tools to help everyone understand and offer support for better mental health care,” said Rod Hochman, M.D., CEO, Providence St. Joseph Health, a health system representing 143,000 caregivers, physicians, volunteers and board members across seven states. “Our communities need the skills to identify and address mental illness earlier. Together, we can empower communities to support our families, friends and neighbors through mental illness detection and intervention training.”
In January, the Be 1 in a Million campaign was launched – a movement to make Mental Health First Aid as common as CPR. The National Council urges every American to be trained as part of its Be 1 in a Million campaign. Learn more at www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.