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National Council for Behavioral Health Announces a Campaign to Train 1 Million Americans in Mental Health First Aid

WASHINGTON, DC – January 4, 2016 – Today the National Council for Behavioral Health is announcing a new campaign, “Be 1 in a Million,” to train 1 million people in Mental Health First Aid.

Currently more than 500,000 people, from law enforcement officers to educators to First Lady Michelle Obama, have been trained in this course that teaches people how to recognize when someone may be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem and encourage them to get help.

“With one in four Americans experiencing a mental health or addiction disorder each year, the National Council is committed to making this important training as common as CPR,” said Susan Blue, National Council board chair and president and CEO of Community Services Group.

A $1 million commitment from the National Council will:

  • Fund instructor scholarships with an emphasis on people who have experienced mental illness or substance use problems, and their family members.
  • Offer grants to instructors that train those who help America’s most vulnerable, like people who work in homeless shelters and call centers, women’s and family services centers, and foster care and child welfare agencies.
  • Cut the cost of Mental Health First Aid teaching materials in half for 2016 to jumpstart more trainings.

Congress included a $15 million appropriation for Mental Health First Aid in the omnibus spending agreement released in December. This marks the third consecutive year Congress has supported the public education and awareness program with funding that allows communities to offer free courses.

“Mental Health First Aid has sparked a movement that is changing America’s culture,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council. “With generous grants from Congress and SAMHSA, and now with the support of our Board, we can greatly increase the impact of Mental Health First Aid USA—a program that can mean the difference between life and death.”

Across the country, organizations are committing to training people in Mental Health First Aid in 2016, including Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who pledged to train 250,000 New Yorkers; Aetna, who now offers the program to its 15 million customers; the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, who held more than 100 trainings last year.

“This training is relevant to all of us,” said Rosenberg. “When you complete the Mental Health First Aid training, you will know how to intervene with someone who is actively suicidal, or help someone who is having a panic attack. You will be able to support a veteran experiencing PTSD symptoms, or a college student with a serious eating disorder. You will be able to recognize a coworker who may be struggling with addiction or a friend who is feeling depressed.”

The National Council urges every American to get trained as part of its “1 in a million” campaign. Find out more at


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