Innovative Program Promotes Proven Techniques to Recognize
and Respond to Mental Illness and Addiction
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Council for Behavioral Health announced its support for the week-long Mental Health First Aid training program beginning today in Manchester, N.H. The program will train 30 future instructors from across the state, who will in turn prepare police officers, educators and school administrators, human resource directors, veterans and military families as well as members of faith communities to identify the signs of mental health illness and connect individuals with care.
The week-long training was kicked off with a press conference featuring state political and health leaders, including Senator Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), who sponsored the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013; Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, who represents New Hampshire’s second district; Suellen Griffin, Executive Director of West Central Behavioral Health in Lebanon, N.H.; and Chuck Ingoglia, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the National Council. Remarks focused on the importance of Mental Health First Aid and the increasingly valuable role it plays helping citizens identify mental health needs, connect individuals with care and safely deescalate crisis situations if needed.
“Mental Health First Aid training teaches those on the front lines how to help individuals in crisis and direct them to proper treatment in the community,” said Senator Ayotte. “I’ve worked across party lines in the Senate to introduce legislation to boost Mental Health First Aid, and this week’s program in New Hampshire highlights the importance of this training to those who work in schools, hospitals, and law enforcement, as well as the benefits of training first responders, members of veterans service organizations, and other community leaders.”
“Mental Health First Aid is fortunate to have had the support of some extraordinary policy makers in Washington, and Senator Kelly Ayotte has been one of the strongest champions from the very beginning,” said National Council President and CEO Linda Rosenberg. “Thanks to Sen. Ayotte’s efforts, the program is available to more people in the northeast and across the nation, connecting those in need of mental health and addiction treatment with quality care in their communities.”
Mental Health First Aid offers participants a simple, proven combination of information and techniques to recognize and respond to the warning signs of mental illness and addiction. The National Council pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained more than 180,000 individuals to connect with youth and adults in need of mental health and addictions care in their communities.
Today’s news conference was jointly sponsored by the N.H. Community Behavioral Health Association (NHCBHA), the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Behavioral Health, and the National Council for Behavioral Health and was held at The Yard Conference Center on Mammoth Road (Route 28) in Manchester, NH. The Mental Health First Aid training program will also take place at The Yard, starting immediately after the press conference, and will run for five days.
For more information, visit www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org.
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