Wheeler Clinic has received a three-year, $370,500 grant to provide Mental Health First Aid training. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Christopher S. Murphy announced the grant award on Friday, September 11, 2015 at Wheeler’s Woodland Street office in Hartford.
Wheeler received the grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement the Community Support for Transition-Aged Youth (CSTAY) program, a Mental Health First Aid training for professionals working with transition-aged youth, ages 18-24. The program will increase mental health literacy by teaching participants about the risk factors and warning signs for young adults either developing a mental health challenge or experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.
“We’re proud to stand with Wheeler Clinic today to celebrate this funding, which will help identify signs of mental illness and make our communities a more compassionate place for young adults living with mental illness,” said Senators Blumenthal and Murphy.
Blumenthal, along with U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), introduced the Mental Health First Aid Act, which would expand mental health first aid training. A version of that bill to support mental health awareness programs for school personnel was approved by the U.S. Senate in July as an amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act. Murphy, along with U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), is the co-author of the Mental Health Reform Act, America’s first comprehensive bipartisan effort to strengthen our nation’s mental health care delivery system in years.
“The Department believes strongly that one of the first steps to ending stigma and encouraging access to treatment is education,” said Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Deputy Commissioner Nancy Navarretta. “The people who will be trained with these monies; parents, law enforcement, faith-based leaders, and other adults, comprise the most valuable early detection and intervention system we could have.”
“We are grateful for the leadership and support from members of our state Congressional delegation whose efforts were instrumental in helping to bring this innovative program to Connecticut,” said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler Clinic.
Wheeler will partner with the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) to implement the CSTAY program. More than 1,500 individuals in central Connecticut will be trained during the three-year period, including members of local police departments, Alternative in the Community (AIC) program staff, community college and technical school faculty and staff and Workforce Investment Act (WIA)-funded One-Stop Career Center staff. The grant will be administered by Wheeler’s Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery.
Central Connecticut was selected as the service area for this grant award because of its community and population-specific risks. Local Community Health Needs Assessments in Hartford and Middlesex Counties identified mental health issues as a significant community risk, and cities within these regions have high rates of binge drinking, suicide, poverty and crime. Targeted transition-age youth include individuals attending adult education, community college or technical school and individuals who are unemployed or at risk for involvement with the criminal justice system.
Wheeler is the recognized state leader in Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental First Aid, providing more than 65 trainings for more than 1,200 participants across the state in recent years. In 2014, Wheeler coordinated a comprehensive training initiative for all 600 teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators in the Newtown, Connecticut public schools, and Wheeler Vice President Judith Stonger serves as statewide lead on MHFA and YMHFA in Connecticut. Wheeler has more Mental Health First Aid training staff than any other organization in Connecticut.
Additional Connecticut recipients of SAMHSA Mental Health First Aid grants include Mental Health Connecticut and Education Connection.
About Wheeler Clinic:
Wheeler provides comprehensive solutions that address complex health issues, providing individuals, families and communities with accessible, innovative care that encourages recovery, health and growth at all stages of life. Our integrated approach to primary and behavioral health, education and recovery creates measurable results, positive outcomes and hopeful tomorrows for more than 30,000 individuals across Connecticut each year. Learn more: www.wheelerclinic.org.
About Mental Health First Aid™
Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour course that teaches community members to identify the signs of mental health challenges, how to provide initial help, and how to connect individuals developing a mental health challenge or in crisis with appropriate care. Since 2008, more than 250,000 individuals in the U.S. have completed the Mental Health First Aid course. Participants who complete the training include school personnel, police officers, faith leaders, health care professionals, and human resources managers. Mental Health First Aid is listed on the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council), the Missouri Department of Mental Health, and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene brought Mental Health First Aid to the US in 2008.
About Wheeler Clinic’s Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery:
Wheeler Clinic’s Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery, a program of Wheeler Clinic, is the state’s most comprehensive resource for behavioral health information and a leading provider of professional training and development opportunities, and prevention and health promotion services statewide. The Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery administers the Connecticut Tobacco Merchant and Community Education Initiative, with support from DMHAS, to reduce youth tobacco access and use.
About the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery
CCAR’s mission is, along with organizing the recovery community (people in recovery, family members, friends and allies) to put a face on recovery and provide recovery support services. The organization promotes recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction through advocacy, education and service. CCAR strives to end discrimination surrounding addiction and recovery, open new doors and remove barriers to recovery, maintain and sustain recovery regardless of the pathway, all the while ensuring that all people in recovery, and people seeking recovery, are treated with dignity and respect. Learn more: http://www.ccar.us.