Friday, February 08, 2013

Steele statement on Mental Health First Aid bill

Steele statement on Mental Health First Aid bill

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX - Today Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9), released the following statement regarding the Mental Health First Aid bill. Steele cosponsored HB 2570 and introduced it on Thursday. The legislation would provide $500,000 to the Department of Health Services for the Mental Health First Aid program that helps the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse disorders. 

“This legislation will expand a program that gives people the skills needed to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. This is an existing program in Arizona that we know is effective. We need to expand it so that more people receive this training.

“I’m a licensed professional counselor specializing in substance abuse, domestic violence and relationship issues. Because of my training and my experiences, I can tell you that prevention is the best practice.

“HB 2570 will provide more funding for a program that helps people respond to individuals in crisis. Most people are better prepared to help someone having a heart attack than they are to help a person having a panic attack. That has to change.

“One of the first things we can do is reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. We must make it easier for people to talk about mental health so that they can get the treatment they need. This benefits the community and those in crisis.

“This bill has bipartisan support. I am pleased that we have been able to set aside partisan bickering to focus on this important issue.”

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