Statement by Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health:
The National Council thanks the U.S. Congress for including a $15 million appropriation for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in the omnibus spending agreement released last night. This marks the third consecutive year Congress has provided funding for this public education and awareness program.
Mental Health First Aid has sparked a movement that is changing America’s culture. The training not only teaches people to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and addictions, it gives them the confidence to intervene, the skills to safely deescalate a crisis situation, and the information they need to help someone care for themselves or get professional help. Since 2008, more than 500,000 Americans – from law enforcement officers to educators to bus drivers and many more – have been trained in Mental Health First Aid.
But we can’t stop here. With one in four Americans experiencing a mental health or addiction disorder each year, we are committed to making this important training as common as CPR.
The National Council is grateful to Senator Kelly Ayotte, Representative Lynn Jenkins, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Representative Doris Matsui, and the other Members of Congress who have supported this important initiative. We pledge to continue working side by side to bring Mental Health First Aid to every community in America.
The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with 2,500 member organizations, it serves more than 10 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. The organization is committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. To learn more about the National Council, visit www.TheNationalCouncil.org.