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Without action by Congress, a program that trains teachers and first responders to recognize symptoms of mental illness in youth will expire

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Jackie Rosen (D-NV) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, introduced a bipartisan Law to Expand Access to Mental Health Educationlegislation to reauthorize and improve the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Mental Health Awareness Grants Program (MHAT).

The program, which expires this year without a decision from Congress, provides grant funding to states, localities, tribes, and other nonprofit organizations to train people, including teachers, first responders, law enforcement officers, and veterans, to recognize and respond to mental and behavioral health of young people. disorders. The MHAT program helps prevent the escalation of mental and behavioral problems by connecting those in need with evidence and community mental health services.

“As we have seen in communities across Nevada and in our country, the pandemic has only exacerbated an existing mental health crisis.” Senator Rosen said. “Often our teachers and first responders are the first to come into contact with youth facing a mental health crisis, and so we must ensure they have the necessary training and resources to respond and support those in need. This program is critical and we must work to re-authorize and improve it.”

“Teachers and first responders often find themselves in situations where children are going through a mental health crisis,” Dr. Cassidy said. “This bill improves access to training for teachers and first responders to refer children to appropriate mental health services.”

“The MHAT grant has allowed us to run free workshops and train parents, mentors, teachers, coaches, health and social workers, and other concerned citizens on how to help a teen who is experiencing mental health or addiction problems or is in crisis. ” said Kim Young, CEO of Children’s Cabinet. “Children’s Office supports and pushes for the re-approval of the Mental Health Education Grant Program as it provides critical opportunities to educate people so they can understand the warning signs of suicide and depression and make appropriate referrals. There is a need to invest in prevention and early intervention, MHAT grants can educate, raise awareness and save lives.”

“The Nye Community Coalition commends the efforts of Senators Rosen and Cassidy and the support of the Mental Health Awareness Training Grant,” said Stacey Smith, Nye Community Coalition. “The Nye Communities Coalition was the recipient of an MHAT grant when the pandemic began and this grant has allowed us to ease the stress COVID has placed on our community. This bill will provide the resources that communities need to help our children, families, adults and seniors manage their emotional and mental health.”

“CSN Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are an important part of our student support network and emotional safety system” said Daniel Alvarado, director of the Disability Resource Center and CAPS, College of Southern Nevada. “CAPS works closely with students, faculty, and staff to put in place systems, programs, and policies to create a culture of care that protects student mental health and builds life skills that increase the likelihood that students will seek help and communicate. with CAPS quickly. Receiving funds to provide Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training in the campus community has had an impact in changing behavior from a culture of silence to a culture of awareness. Continued financial support will allow us to create a culture of caring based on greater understanding and reduced feelings of shame and secrecy through ongoing MHFA training.”

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