U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today announced a key Senate panel has approved mental health legislation they are cosponsoring that aims to expand mental health awareness training across the nation. The measure was approved as part of a larger mental health bill that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has been considering.
The provision included in the bill is based on the Mental Health First Aid of 2013 (S.153), bipartisan legislation which provides support for training programs to help the public identify, understand, and address crisis situations safely. The legislation also calls for protocols to increase familiarity with mental health services available in local communities.
"Our bipartisan legislation takes an important first step toward strengthening our mental health system," said Senator Ayotte. "Improving mental health training for those who work in our schools, communities and emergency personnel will give them the tools they need to identify warning signs and help individuals get treatment."
"We must do more when it comes to increasing access to mental health services, especially for children and young adults," said Senator Shaheen. "I'm pleased to see this legislation moving forward as it represents an important step towards strengthening our mental health system, particularly by training healthcare professionals who work with young people."
The measure would provide grants for mental health awareness training programs for groups of individuals such as teachers, first responders, police officers, school and college administrators, veterans, and nurses.