Critics say mental health first aid bill skirts real issue

The Mental Health First Aid Act, which was introduced in a Congress subcommittee Monday, would expand programs that train people to recognize and intervene when they see signs of mental health issues — but critics are saying the bill draws resources away from those with serious mental illnesses, according to a report in U.S. News & World Report.

The bill aims to expand Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour first-aid course that helps people learn how to assess and respond when family, friends or strangers may have mental health issues. The program is run by the National Council for Behavioral Health and is currently funded by $15 million in federal dollars, which are aimed specifically at those who work with youths, according to the report.

However, critics of the bill are concerned it doesn't address the severe shortage of mental health professionals across the country and that many people with serious mental illness go untreated.

Supporters maintain the bill will help reduce stigma and make others more confident in how to respond, according to the report.

Read more here.


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