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New work with Active Minds, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America positions training program to reach key audiences

WASHINGTON – Targeting Mental Health First Aid courses to key demographics, Mental Health First Aid USA launched a partnership with Active Minds, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). Each organization will expand Mental Health First Aid training capacity through their local chapters.

In the initial roll out, Active Minds will provide Mental Health First Aid training to 680 students on college campuses nationwide; AFSP will train 1,000 individuals; and IAVA will train 3,000 members of the veteran and military community.

“By joining forces with Active Minds, AFSP and IAVA, Mental Health First Aid extends its reach to populations with unique mental health needs,” said Linda Rosenberg, National Council President and CEO. “We are confident that these partnerships will allow us to more effectively help college students, veterans and those at risk for suicide.”

Mental Health First Aid USA developed targeted curriculum supplements, which tailor the core curriculum to the particular needs of vulnerable populations, including veterans, military and their families and college students. The numbers are staggering. One third of all college students have reported feeling so depressed that they have had trouble functioning, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for Americans, and 22 veterans die by suicide every day.

“Given the high percentage of veterans, military personnel and college students struggling with untreated mental health problems, including serious mental illnesses like severe depression and suicidal thinking, we have identified Active Minds, AFSP and IAVA as three key organizations to support our mission to provide Mental Health First Aid training to more people in these key populations,” said Betsy Schwartz, Vice President of Public Education and Special Initiatives at the National Council.

Since 2008, over 300,000 people in the U.S. have completed the Mental Health First Aid course to learn how to help youth and adults with mental health and substance use concerns connect to care in their communities. Mental Health First Aid USA operated by the National Council, the Missouri Department of Mental Health, and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is listed on the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices..

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The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with more than 2,800 member organizations, serving 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council was instrumental in bringing Mental Health First Aid to the United States and now has trained more than 1 million people. In 2014, the National Council merged with the State Associations of Addiction Services (SAAS).