Chuck Ingoglia, M.S.W.
Vice President of Pubic Policy,
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
In January, legislation was introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to fund public education programs that train emergency services personnel, police officers, teachers/school administrators, primary care professionals, and students to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The legislation, referred to as The Mental Health First Aid Act, seeks $20 million in grant funding for Mental Health First Aid educational programming to:
- Highlight available mental health resources in local communities, including Community Mental Health Centers, emergency psychiatric facilities, hospital emergency rooms, and other programs offering psychiatric crisis beds;
- Teach the warning signs and risk factors for schizophrenia, major clinical depression, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, trauma, and other common mental disorders;
- Teach crisis de-escalation techniques; and
- Provide trainees with a five-step action plan to help individuals in psychiatric crisis connect to professional mental health care.