Blumenthal on 'Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013'
In a press release issued Thursday, the office of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., announced that a "bipartisan coalition" of senators led by Sens. Mark Begich, D-AK, Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and Blumenthal introduced legislation "to expand mental health first aid training and increase the effectiveness of mental health care across America."
Sens. Begich, Ayotte, Blumenthal, Jack Reed, D-RI, Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, Michael Bennet, D-CO, Roy Blunt, R-MO, and Marco Rubio, R-FL, are original co-sponsors of the Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013, the release said.
“Gunmen responsible for mass shootings highlight how mental illness can cause carnage and killing,” Blumenthal said, also in the statement. “We need to identify and treat people suffering from mental illness before they damage or destroy other lives. By providing resources to train our school officials, law enforcement professionals, and emergency personnel how to recognize and refer people with mental health issues, the Mental Health First Aid Act will increase the health and safety of our communities.”
"The bill will provide grants for mental health first aid training programs for groups of individuals such as teachers, first responders, police officers, school and college administrators, veterans, and nurses. The bill also outlines a particular focus on training in rural areas," the statement said..
Specifically, the bill would (all of the following as contained in the statement and is unedited here:
- 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.
The statement also noted that The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), who was former Rep. Gabby Giffords’s former district director and was wounded two years ago.