My recent article on behavioral.net detailed some of the mental health bills currently being discussed on the Capitol Hill, as well as their sponsors. One of these bills, the Mental Health First Aid Act, has recently seen the addition of many new Congressional cosponsors.
This bill, which Congressman Ron Barber (D-AZ) introduced in January, authorizes $20 million in grants to fund Mental Health First Aid training programs across the country. Participants would be trained in recognizing the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major clinical depression, and addiction disorders; de-escalating crisis situations safely; and initiating timely referral to mental health and substance abuse resources available in the community in order to maximize the effectiveness of the services and avoid more costly subsequent behavioral care.
According to a recent statement from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council), the current cosponsors of the legislation are:
- House sponsors: Ron Barber (D-AZ), William L. Clay (D-MO), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Lois J. Frankel (D-FL), Rush D. Holt (D-NJ), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Tom Latham (R-IA), Jim P. McGovern (D-MA), Jim P. Moran (D-VA), Ed G. Perlmutter (D-CO), Jared Polis (D-CO), Bobby C. Scott (D-VA), Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Niki S. Tsongas (D-MA), Don Young (R-AK).
- Senate sponsors: Mark Begich (D-AK), Kelly A. Ayotte (R-NH), Michael F. Bennett (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roy D. Blunt (R-MO), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie A. Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Udall (D-CO)
Has your legislator signed onto the bill yet?