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Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Mental Health First Aid Act Introduced in the House

April 16, 2015 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The Mental Health First Aid Act now has a companion bill in the House of Representatives. On Thursday, Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2015. This important legislation would provide funding to train Americans in Mental Health First Aid. Identical legislation was introduced in the Senate last month, also with bipartisan support.

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National Council Sponsors Two-Day Health Forum at The Atlantic

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

This week, The Atlantic hosted its seventh annual Health Forum, bringing together physicians, researchers, advocates, legislators, practitioners and health policy thought leaders to examine a wide range of health issues. This two-day event, sponsored in part by the National Council, featured many topics surrounding behavioral health, including: a keynote interview with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) discussing her Excellence in Mental Health Act, health reform architect Ezekiel Emmanuel and overall trends in behavioral health, and Mental Health First Aid.

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Mental Health First Aid Act Introduced in the Senate

March 12, 2015 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Just days after First Lady Michelle Obama called on the nation to “flip the script” on mental health, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2015. This legislation would provide funding to train Americans in Mental Health First Aid. The bill was introduced by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and […]

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First Lady Highlights Mental Health First Aid as Key to Shifting the Conversation on Mental Health

March 5, 2015 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday called on the nation to “flip the script” on mental health by breaking through the silence and stigma surrounding these conditions. Obama gave a ringing endorsement to Mental Health First Aid as a key tool in this fight, noting that “it really gives you the skills you need to identify – and ultimately help – someone in need. Because you never know when these kinds of skills might be useful.”

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Rep. Lynn Jenkins, University of Kansas Host Veterans Mental Health First Aid Training

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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

On November 22, a group of students, veterans, and other interested community leaders participated in a free Mental Health First Aid for Veterans (MHFA) training. The training was hosted by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), the KU Collegiate Veterans Associations, KU Counseling and Psychological Services and KU Graduate Military Programs.

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School Districts to Receive Funding for Mental Health First Aid Training

September 24, 2014 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Tuesday, 120 state and local educational agencies learned they will be part of a major national initiative to support teachers, schools, and communities in recognizing and responding to mental health concerns among youth.

The educational agencies–including school districts in 28 states and departments of education in 20 states–were awarded Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Mental Health First Aid Toolkit Supports State Policy Initiatives

August 28, 2014 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

n the 2013-2014 legislative session, 21 states passed legislation or initiated executive actions related to Mental Health First Aid. These included appropriations to support Mental Health First Aid activities, teacher training requirements, and more. As Mental Health First Aid continues to receive broad support at the state level, the National Council has updated our State Legislative Toolkit for 2014.

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#IceBucketCaucus

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Chuck Ingoglia

President & CEO, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Two months ago, many Americans had never heard of an obscure neurodegenerative disease that affects 30,000 people in the U.S. Now, thanks to the #IceBucketChallenge, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a household word. With that rise in awareness has come a stunning increase in private donations to ALS research and patient support – as of today, donors have contributed $88.5 million, compared to $2.6 million during this period last year.

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Congressional Staff Learn Value of Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety

July 17, 2014 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Mental Health First Aid can help improve law enforcement officers’ responses to individuals in behavioral health crises and make communities healthier, said a panel of speakers at two Wednesday briefings on Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety. The briefings were sponsored by the National Council, with Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Begich (D-AK) and Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Ron Barber (D-AZ).

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Negotiations Underway to Reconcile Rival Behavioral Health Bills

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The lead sponsors of rival behavioral health reform bills are meeting to negotiate a deal that may have a chance of moving forward in Congress this year. Congressmen Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ron Barber (D-AZ) led a bipartisan group of legislators in meeting last Tuesday to identify where the two bills have common ground and […]

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Congressional Cosponsors Join Behavioral Health Bills After Hill Day

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Several members of Congress have added themselves as cosponsors to the Mental Health First Aid Act and Behavioral Health IT Act in the wake of the National Council’s 10th annual Hill Day, held May 7 in Washington, D.C.

Hill Day brought more than 1,200 mental health and substance use advocates to DC for three days of public policy workshops and trainings, followed by visits with their legislators to advocate for our field’s priorities.

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Several House Committee Members Introduce Broad Behavioral Health Bill

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Earlier this week, members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – which oversees many policies related to mental health and substance use – introduced legislation to improve the U.S. behavioral healthcare system.

The Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act (H.R. 4574) was introduced by Ron Barber (D-AZ), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Paul Tonko (D-NY).

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Webinar Summarizes Details of Mental Health First Aid RFA

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released its Request for Applications (RFA) related to $15 million in new funding for communities to offer Mental Health First Aid. On April 29, the National Council held a webinar to brief interested individuals and entities about the details of this funding announcement.

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Mental Health First Aid for Veterans Launches

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council, along with leaders from veterans service organizations and fellow mental health advocates, today launched a new training program – Mental Health First Aid for Veterans – that offers participants a simple, proven combination of information and techniques to recognize and respond to the warning signs of mental illness and addiction.

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Funding Opportunity Announced for Mental Health First Aid / Project AWARE

April 17, 2014 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has published two new funding opportunity announcements related to the Project AWARE and Mental Health First Aid initiative enacted by Congress in the 2014 budget. The National Council encourages our member organizations and local Mental Health First Aid instructors to collaborate with state and local education agencies to submit a grant application.

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House Passes 2014 Budget Deal; Includes Funding Bump for Mental Health

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The House yesterday easily approved a $1 trillion omnibus budget bill, the result of intensive negotiations over the last month to fund government operations for the remainder of 2014 and avert another shutdown. The bill, which is also expected to pass the Senate this week, increases mental health funding over 2013 levels and includes $15 million for Mental Health First Aid training.

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Year in Review: Progress for Behavioral Health on the Hill

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Chuck Ingoglia

President & CEO, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The beginning of a new year is always a time for reflection on our achievements over the last twelve months and setting goals for what we hope to accomplish in the coming twelve. 2014 is an especially exciting time to do this because of how far we’ve come with our legislative priorities, thanks to unprecedented support in Congress and the outstanding support from advocates like you.

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Congressman Ron Barber Writes Op-Ed on Access to Mental Healthcare, Mental Health First Aid

June 13, 2013 | Mental Health First Aid | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Writing in Wednesday’s issue of The Hill, Arizona Congressman Ron Barber urged his colleagues in Congress to support the expansion of mental health services in the U.S. Barber highlighted the Mental Health First Aid Act as a key example of legislation that could help prevent future mass shootings.

Barber wrote,

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National Council’s Chuck Ingoglia on the Mental Health First Aid Bill

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Chuck Ingoglia discussed the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013 in an article published this week on Care For Your Mind.

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White House Conference on Mental Health: What Now?

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Heather Cobb

Sr. Director, Creative & Strategy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The June 3, 2013 White Houses Conference on Mental Health brought great attention to mental health and addictions. But what now? What are our next steps?

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