Bi-partisan push to expand Mental Health First Aid
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Jennifer Waddell
Web Producer: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - There is a need and now there's a bi-partisan effort to fill it.
We're talking about mental health awareness and a big announcement today in Tucson.
Representatives Ethan Orr and Victoria Steele---Republican and Democrat respectively - introduced the Mental Health First Aid bill.
It would set money aside to expand the state's existing mental health first aid program which helps people identify someone with mental health issues and encourage them into treatment.
Victoria Steele says: "Most people are better able to help someone who's having a heart attack then they are able to help someone with a panic attack. We want to, just like we did with CPR and first aid training, make mental health first aid easily accessible.
Ethan Orr says, "It requires about half a million in appropriations and we've been both been speaking to the leadership within our parties and they're supportive. We've both been working with emmbers of the House Appropriations Committee. We wouldn't drop a bill like this if we didn't think it had a reasonable chance of passage so we feel confident we'll get a hearing and confident we'll find the money.
Police and mental health providers are on board.
House Bill 2570 would also provide training for teachers, parents and students.