Washington, DC– Today, the Energy & Commerce Committee unanimously passed H.R. 1877, the Mental Health First Aid Act. Co-authored by Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), the bipartisan bill would expand Mental Health First Aid training to help emergency services personnel, police officers, educators, and the public identify, understand, and respond to people experiencing mental health issues and substance use disorders.
“For too long, stigma has prevented people from seeking awareness and information about mental health,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “We must equip first responders, law enforcement, and community members with the tools they need to help people in distress and de-escalate crisis situations. The Mental Health First Aid Act is one critical piece of progress in our overall efforts at mental health reform, and I look forward to working with Congresswoman Jenkins to advance this bill further.”
“Too many families in America know someone dealing with a mental health issue,” said Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins. “The consequences can be devastating for the person and their family – and it’s a result that is unnecessary. We need to create a better support network for folks so that people around them understand how to recognize and help in their time of need. Mental Health First Aid training is a proven, effective way to do just that. By training community leaders – veterans, firefighters, teachers and others – we can actively work towards a stronger American mental health system. One that is proactive, not reactive, and capable of helping the millions of Americans who deal with mental illness every day.”
The Mental Health First Aid Act would reauthorize grants for the implementation of the Mental Health First Aid model across the country.