Mental Health First Aid Comes to New Hampshire
The NH Community Behavioral Health Association, in coordination with the NH Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Behavioral Health, recently brought a “Train the Trainer” Mental Health First Aid Training Program to New Hampshire.
The July 2014 program was run by the National Council for Behavioral Health. Approximately 30 individuals, many of whom were staff from local Community Mental Health Centers, participated. They were trained in: (1) recognizing the symptoms of common mental illnesses and addiction disorders; (2) de-escalating crisis situations safely; and (3) initiating timely referrals to mental health and substance abuse disorder resources available in the community.
The intensive 5-day program will enable participants to take what they learn back to their communities and expand mental health first aid skills to first responders, teachers/school administrators, primary care professionals, students, and others. The goal is to improve Americans’ mental health, reduce stigma around mental illness, and help those who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm by referring them to appropriate treatment.
Support for these training programs can be found in the Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 153/H.R. 274 []), which was introduced in the House by Congressman Ron Barber (D-AZ) and in the Senate by Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), with numerous bipartisan cosponsors including the remainder of the NH delegation (Senator Shaheen and Congresswomen Kuster and Shea-Porter).
If you are interested in more information about taking the Mental Health First Aid Training, please contact your local Community Mental Health Center. Click here for their locations.
KickOff Image
Congresswoman Kuster and Senator Ayotte attend the kickoff event for the Mental Health First Aid Training along with Executive Directors from several of the ten Community Mental Health Centers across New Hampshire. Pictured starting from top left are Peter Evers, Ex. Dir., Riverbend Community Mental Health; Vic Topo, Ex. Dir., Center for Life Management; Maggie Pritchard, Ex. Dir., Genesis Behavioral Health; Suellen Griffin, Ex. Dir., West Central Behavioral Health; Phil Wyzik, Ex. Dir., Monadnock Family Services; Jay Couture, Ex. Dir., Seacoast Mental Health Center; Congresswoman Annie Kuster; Senator Kelly Ayotte.
Who We Are
The NH Community Behavioral Health Association is an organization comprised of the ten community mental health centers throughout New Hampshire. These centers serve individuals in our state who are living with—and recovering from—mental illness and emotional disorders.
The goal of the Association is to raise awareness about the crucial role played by community-based mental health centers to ensure public safety and overall public health for all New Hampshire residents. In addition, the Association serves as an advocate for a strong mental health system across New Hampshire.


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