OMH awards $1M grant to expand substance abuse, mental health training across New York

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The NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) has awarded the Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS) $1 million to facilitate Youth Mental Health First Aid training.

According to a report on Friday June 3, 2022, the training will benefit adults who regularly interact with young people, including healthcare providers, teachers, clergy, parents, first responders and other groups.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “The last two years have been especially trying for all of us, and especially for children, who are particularly vulnerable to the stress, anxiety and depression brought on by the COVID pandemic and other traumatic events. The trainings provided by MHANYS will help adults who regularly interact with children and youth to recognize the warning signs of behavioral health issues so children can be given the appropriate support they need.”

MHANYS CEO Glenn Liebman said, “MHANYS has a long history of working collaboratively with OMH, and we are proud to do so again with this important undertaking.

“As always, we will seek to be as inclusive as possible, and provide training to individuals who truly reflect the diversity of New York State.

“This will help us to overcome cultural barriers and make inroads in communities that don’t typically access mental health services.

“MHANYS thanks Governor Hochul and Dr. Sullivan for their leadership and support of this important initiative.”

MHANYS anticipates facilitating 40 in-person training sessions and 120 virtual sessions which will provide training to up to 3,600 participants.

It will also provide instruction to individuals who wish to deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid training themselves.

This “train the trainer” model will help further expand access to training in communities across New York State. MHANYS will host two “Train the Trainer” sessions, which will prepare up to 32 people to become Youth Mental Health First Aid trainers.

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among children and adolescents.

The training focuses on how to best help young people who may be experiencing a mental health issue or a substance abuse problem.

Studies show that those who trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, improved concordance with health professionals about treatments, and decreased stigmatizing attitudes.

Funding for the award was provided to OMH through expansion of the federal Community Mental Health Services Block Grant, which is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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