Friday, December 21, 2012

Training: Mental Health First Aid

About the Program: Program Overview

Find a Course Near You
News and Updates
Become an Instructor

Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that  helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by three national authorities — the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Mental Health First Aid is offered in the form of an interactive 12-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Those who take the 12-hour course to certify as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care.

The 12-hour Mental Health First Aid USA course has benefited a variety of audiences and key professions, including: primary care professionals, employers and business leaders, faith communities, school personnel and educators, state police and corrections officers, nursing home staff, mental health authorities, state policymakers, volunteers, young people, families and the general public. See how you can get involved — find a 12-hour Mental Health First Aid course near you or learn how you can become a certified instructor to teach the 12-hour course in your community.

Governments are paying attention to Mental Health First Aid.

Mental Health First Aid is featured in USA Today.

Mental Health First Aid has been featured in national media on NPR Morning Edition, NPR Talk of the Nation, and ABC News Now.

Upcoming Instructor Certification Courses

Questions about Mental Health First Aid USA? Contact Us.

U.S. Joins Brazil, Peru to End Forced Labor, Child Labor

Child breaking rocks to be used in construction (AP Images)

The U.S. Department of Labor's International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) is providing a $5.35 million grant to support efforts by the governments of Brazil and Peru to end child labor and forced labor.
The grant will fund a project implemented by the International Labour Organization that builds on Brazil's pioneering efforts to combat forced labor through a trilateral partnership with the United States and Peru.

In Brazil, the project will help link victims and their households to social and livelihood programs. In Peru, the project will share good practices developed in Brazil to strengthen Peru's ongoing efforts to combat forced labor.

Since 1995, ILAB projects have rescued approximately 1.5 million children from exploitive labor. The U.S. Labor Department has funded 260 such projects implemented by more than 65 organizations in 91 countries. ILAB currently oversees more than $210 million of active programming to combat the worst forms of child labor.

For more information, see the Labor Department news release.

Read more:

U.S. Unveils Plan to Assist Children Facing Adversity

By Kathryn McConnell | Staff Writer | 20 December 2012

Two girls raising their hands, with boy at right (USAID)
The U.S. plan to assist vulnerable children aims to increase families’ capacity to feed, educate and nurture their children.

Washington — Achieving a world where all children survive, grow up with protective family care and are free from deprivation, exploitation and danger is the goal of a new blueprint for U.S. international assistance.
The five-year plan, introduced December 19 at the White House, is the latest step in the ongoing U.S. effort to improve the lives of children worldwide. In June, the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) joined the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the governments of Ethiopia and India in an event called “Child Survival Call to Action,” designed to accelerate progress on newborn, child and maternal survival. To date, 168 countries have signed on to the initiative.

USAID will implement the new plan with the departments of State, Labor, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Defense, along with the Peace Corps and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR,) in more than 100 countries.

More than 100 civil society and faith-based organizations endorsed the plan. A public-private partnership is being formed to mobilize resources to meet its objectives, USAID says.

Research shows that children who experience violence or are exploited, abandoned, abused or severely neglected face significant threats to their survival and to their social and economic well-being, USAID says. Children in adversity do not have protective family care, or they live in abusive households, on the streets or in institutions. They are trafficked, participate in armed groups or are exploited for labor. Others face risks from extreme poverty, disease, disability or disaster, USAID says.

“The science is clear. Childhood experiences shape adult outcomes, including long-term health, cognitive development, academic achievement and one’s ability to be gainfully and safely employed,” said Neil Boothby, U.S. government special adviser on children in adversity.

The five-year plan says evidence shows that nations that invest in their children have promising futures.
Thirty percent of the world’s children do not reach their developmental potential because of poverty, disease, conflict and disaster, according to USAID. “If we are serious about change, really breaking through cycles of poverty and inequality, we must start early,” Boothby said.

The plan seeks to build strong beginnings by strengthening child welfare and protection systems, putting family care first, and protecting children from domestic and sexual violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect. The plan aims to significantly reduce the number of children living outside of family care; increase families’ capacity to feed, educate, nurture and protect their children; and increase the number of children meeting age-appropriate growth and developmental milestones.

The plan states that past efforts to assist vulnerable children in low- and middle-income countries focused on single vulnerabilities — such as being affected by HIV/AIDS, or being in an emergency, child labor or trafficking situation. “Coordinated, multifaceted action can help ensure that children in adversity benefit fully from polices and services,” it says.

In 2010, the United States joined governments, international organizations, civil society groups and private sector companies to create a global commitment to improve child nutrition during the 1,000 days from the start of a woman’s pregnancy through the child's second year, a period that is critical to a child’s ability to thrive for a lifetime.

The U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity (PDF, 2.56MB) is available on a multiagency website.

Read more: