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Press Release

NH Launches Training to Improve Response to Individuals in Distress
First Group of 30 Receive Certification as Mental Health First Aid Instructors
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Public Information Office
(603) 271-9391

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Publish Date:
July 15, 2014

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bureau of Behavioral Health (BBH) has launched a training that will provide valuable skills to potential first responders and community members in how to help individuals experiencing mental illness or addiction disorders. The Training, called Mental Health First Aid, is funded through DHHS’ Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) and is a collaborative effort between DHHS and the NH Community Behavioral Health Association.

“There is no issue that crosses sectors and boundaries in the way that Mental Illness does,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “This Training program will help develop new skills at the local level. We view this as an integral part of a revitalized continuum of care in our service delivery systems addressing the needs of individuals facing mental health crises.”

Thirty people from across the State were certified as mental health first aid instructors. These instructors will be required to share their knowledge and skills within their community, and must provide 3 trainings within a year to remain certified.

“The Goal is to get these skills out in the community where they are most needed,” said Nanci Collica, one of the first certified Mental Health First Aid Trainers in New Hampshire. “My own son has had many experiences where we could have used someone who knew better what to do. The fact that these skills can be applied anytime, anywhere, by anyone is what makes them so valuable.”

The training offers evidence based instruction on identifying symptoms of mental illness and substance disorders, de-escalating crisis and connecting individuals to resources in their community. “It’s fun, simple, yet provides great tools for handling a situation where someone is in crisis” says Collica.

The Balancing Incentive Program is an award through the Centers of Medicaid and Medicare Services. The purpose of this program is to increase access to and use of long-term care services and supports in community settings. In partnership with community organizations throughout the state, these services and supports will allow more people to remain in their homes and communities rather than in nursing homes.

 
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