FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2015
Contact: Todd Post, 202.684.7457, x276, ToddP@thenationalcouncil.org
$20 Million Investment an Important Step in Addressing Public Health
Washington, D.C.: Congresswomen Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced the Mental Health First Aid Act, a bill authorizing $20 million in grants for Mental Health First Aid trainings around the country. The proposed legislation is the counterpart to a Senate bill (S. 711) introduced in March by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), with nine cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.
Mental Health First Aid provides emergency services personnel, police officers, educators, primary care professionals, students and others with the necessary skills to recognize mental health and substance use problems and connect people with help in their communities.
“Thanks to the bipartisan leadership in the House to fund Mental Health First Aid, we are one step closer to expanding a proven program that has already trained nearly 375,000 Americans to help the one in five in this country who have mental illnesses and addictions,” said Linda Rosenberg, National Council president and CEO. “The National Council for Behavioral Health commends Congresswomen Jenkins and Matsui for supporting Mental Health First Aid’s effort to advance behavioral health care in 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 help 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.
Since 2014, Congress has funded an annual appropriation of $15 million for Mental Health First Aid trainings around the country. The new legislation would enhance this available funding and secure the future of this important funding stream.
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