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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Senator Begich and 8 Cosponsors Introduce Mental Health First Aid Act

February 1, 2013 | Uncategorized | Comments
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mark begich introduces mental health first aid bill

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK)

A bill introduced today with bipartisan support in the Senate would provide funding to train Americans in Mental Health First Aid. The Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013 was introduced by lead sponsors Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). They were joined by cosponsors Jack Reed (D-RI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

The Mental Health First Aid Act authorizes $20 million in grants to organizations for training emergency services personnel, teachers/school administrators, primary care professionals, students, and police officers in Mental Health First Aid. Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that builds understanding of the signs and symptoms of mental illness and addiction and teaches participants how to respond to a person in crisis. Learn more about Mental Health First Aid.

“The broad bipartisan support for this bill shows that politics have no place when it comes to keeping our families and communities safe and providing adequate support for those who may be experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Senator Begich. “This bill makes smart investments to increase awareness and resources for mental health services in Alaska and across the country. I look forward to seeing it move forward in the Senate.”

“Our bipartisan legislation takes an important first step toward strengthening our mental health system,” said Senator Ayotte. “Improving mental health training for those who work in our schools, communities and hospitals will give them the tools they need to identify warning signs and help individuals get treatment.”

This bill is a companion to identical legislation introduced last week by Congressman Ron Barber (D-AZ) in the House.