Mental Health First Aid training course sees gains in support, funding

The California Department of Education received a $1.9 million grant last fall to offer a version of the course that is geared toward teachers, principals, bus drivers and others who work with school-age children to help identify and provide early intervention of mental disorders.

Today, grants totaling $8.6 million are available to state and local governments, universities and nonprofits that want to teach the course. Congress is looking at spending another $19 million to help fund the program in the upcoming budget, while first lady Michelle Obama touted the program last month as a key to “flipping the script” on the national dialogue on mental health.

Santa Clara and San Mateo counties also started offering the class a few years ago. In San Mateo it is taught in several languages, including Spanish, Tagalog, Samoan and Tongan, said Jei Africa, director of the county Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity and Equity.

“What we are doing is paying attention to the cultural nuances — so it’s not ‘one-size-fits-all’ teaching,” Africa said.  Read the full story at: