UPDATE: Mental Health First Aid funding increased in House budget
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The Arizona House of Representatives passed a budget that will increase funding for Mental Health First Aid, a program that helps the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse disorders.
Rep. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson (District 9) and Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson (District 9), co-sponsored a bill earlier this year that would have provided an additional $250,000 to the Department of Health Services specifically for Mental Health First Aid. Although the bill stalled in the Senate, the Arizona House of Representatives included the same proposal in the bipartisan budget it passed.
“I’m a licensed professional counselor, and because of my training, I know this program makes a difference,” Steele said. “It will help teach people how to better respond to individuals in crisis and will help meet a need in our communities. I am grateful for the opportunity to work across the aisle with Rep. Orr on this important issue and would like to thank him for his efforts.”
The Arizona Senate is expected to vote on this measure later today.