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Mental Health Awareness Trainings Included in House-Approved Education Bill

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Behavioral Health

Mental Health Awareness Trainings Included in House-Approved Education Bill

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On Wednesday, the House of Representative approved a long-debated education reauthorization bill that includes language based on the Mental Health First Aid Act. The House and Senate earlier this year approved differing versions of the education bill, but only the Senate version include mental health awareness training programs. After a period of deliberation and debate, House and Senate negotiators released a conference committee report that irons out differences between the two bills—and importantly, preserves the Senate-passed provisions authorizing mental health awareness training. The House approved package now heads to the Senate for a final vote before being sent to President Obama’s desk.

The Every Student Succeeds Act would support evidence-based mental health awareness training programs that:

  • Allow school personnel to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness;
  • Provide education to school personnel regarding available resources in the community for students who may be struggling with mental illnesses; or
  • Provide education to school personnel regarding ways to safely de-escalate crisis situations.

The National Council strongly supports the approval of these important training programs and encourages the Senate to quickly approve the education bill and send to the President to make it law.