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President Obama Calls for Mental Health Reforms in Gun Violence Proposal

Via The National Council:

New resources would be directed to mental health treatment, workforce training, and public education under a series of proposals unveiled Wednesday by President Obama. Among these proposals is a recommendation for teachers and other adults who interact with students to be trained in Mental Health First Aid.

President Obama acknowledged in his statement that “someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator.” His new mental health proposals seek to expand access to treatment, bolster the mental health workforce, and ensure coverage of mental health services in insurance policies. They include:

  • Establishing a new initiative called Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), which would provide Mental Health First Aid training for teachers and make sure students with signs of mental illness get referred to treatment;
  • Supporting innovative state-based strategies for assisting transition-age young people (age 16-25) who have mental health or substance abuse conditions;
  • Helping schools address pervasive violence by offering students mental health services for trauma or anxiety, conflict resolution programs, and other school-based violence prevention strategies;
  • Providing funding to train more than 5,000 additional mental health professionals to serve students and young adults; and
  • Finalizing federal regulations outlining how the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act must be applied and clarifying that parity requirements apply to Medicaid plans under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

President Obama also called for the initiation of a national dialogue to increase understanding about mental health, directing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to launch conversations with consumers, members of the faith community, foundations, and school and business leaders.

The National Council praised the President’s mental health proposals in a statement by Linda Rosenberg:

Statement by Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health

“As part of his recommendations to protect our communities from gun violence, President Obama today rightly called for Mental Health First Aid training to help teachers and staff recognize the signs of mental health disorders in young people and find them appropriate care.

“The youth version of Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based training program to help citizens identify mental health problems in young people, connect youth with care, and safely deescalate crisis situations if needed. The program, focusing on youth ages 12 to 25, provides an ideal forum to engage communities in discussing the signs and symptoms of mental illness, the prevalence of mental health disorders, the effectiveness of treatment and how to engage troubled young people in services.

“This groundbreaking training is critical for anyone who spends time with young people. The first onset of severe mental illness typically occurs in the late teens or early twenties. The symptoms of severe mental illness often emerge slowly over this period and can be difficult to detect without basic information on what to look for. Even when friends and family of someone who appears to be developing mental illness can tell that something is amiss, they may not know how to intervene or direct the person to proper treatment — which means that all too often, those in need of mental health services do not get them until it is too late. Research shows that the sooner people get help for mental health disorders, the more likely they are to have positive outcomes.

“The adult Mental Health First Aid program has already been delivered to nearly 100,000 Americans through a network of more than 2,500 instructors.

“We, of course, understand that no amount of training can guarantee horrific acts won’t occur, but being comfortable with openly talking about mental illness and engaging young adults and their families can increase the likelihood we may be able to help and intervene early.

“We are grateful to Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) who will shortly reintroduce Mental Health First Aid legislation in Congress to implement the President’s recommendations.

“We also encourage President Obama and Congress to consider other National Council policy proposals which will dramatically increase our nation’s ability to provide timely, high-quality mental health and addictions services to people in need. The proposals may be found on our web site at”

Congressional Committees to Hold Hearings on Mental Health System

In the wake of the President’s announcement, lawmakers in the House and Senate continued exploring potential proposals to address mental health in the U.S. National Council staff met with legislators and congressional staff to discuss our recommendations to the Vice President’s task force. Several committees are planning upcoming hearings on the U.S. mental healthcare system. On January 24, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on “Assessing the State of America’s Mental Health System.” The lead witnesses include SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde and NIMH Director Thomas Insel.

Legislation Introduced to Provide Grants for Mental Health First Aid Training; Ask Your Rep to Cosponsor

New legislation introduced by Congressman Ron Barber (D-AZ) would authorize $20 million in grants to states and communities to provide training in Mental Health First Aid.

The Mental Health First Aid Act (H.R. 274) is designed to increase public awareness about mental illness and addictions and how to reach out to a person experiencing one of these conditions. Mental Health First Aid teaches a five-step action plan to respond to a person in crisis and direct them to professional help.

Under the bill, grants would be provided to organizations for training emergency services personnel, police officers, teachers/school administrators, faith community leaders, primary care professionals, and students in Mental Health First Aid. This legislation builds upon a similar bill introduced in the 112th Congress by Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA) and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), with bipartisan support. That bill (H.R. 5996/S. 3325) focused on training faculty and staff at institutes of higher education.

Please help build support for the Mental Health First Aid Act by reaching out to your legislators and asking them to join Congressman Barber as cosponsors! Click here to write a message to your Representative.

President of Preferred Behavioral Health of NJ Offers a Call to Action

William Sette, the president and CEO of Preferred Behavioral Health of N.J., 700 Airport Road, Lakewood, is offering some insights into how people can respond in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings, especially as attention is drawn to the treatment of mental illness in our society.

Sette said, “This issue—the treatment of mental illness in our society—has been the subject of endless debate; however, this most recent incident underscores the need for a responsible call to action on the part of all of us.

“Over the past several days, we have heard from elected officials as well as mental health professionals, expressing concern and offering their interpretations of the events that occurred. Now is the time to decide how YOU will respond to this tragedy.

“You can advocate for legislation to provide adequate funding for mental health services and for The Safe Schools and Communities Violence Prevention and Response Plan Act, which calls for each county superintendent to hire a violence prevention specialist who would work with local community behavioral healthcare providers, school professionals and parents to develop a plan to identify at-risk students and ensure they receive early intervention behavioral health services and to coordinate a behavioral health response in the event of an incident.”

Sette also advises the public to educate themselves by enrolling in a Mental Health First Aid class to learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to respond to a mental health emergency.  Classes in Mental Health First Aid teach individuals from all walks of life to help preserve life when a person may be a danger to oneself or others, and to help  prevent problems from becoming more serious by providing information regarding mental health services and access to those services.

Classes in Mental Health First Aid are twelve hours in length and instruct participants in a five-step action plan that leads to certification as a Mental Health First Aid responder. Learning how to identify and help people with mental illnesses should be a first-aid skill as common as CPR, states the Washington-based National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH).

Two Mental Health First Aid classes are being offered; one January 17and 18, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and another February 5, 15, 19, and 26 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. 

For information about in enrolling in a Mental Health First Aid class or in bringing Mental Health First Aid to your organization or community, call Preferred Behavioral Health of N.J. at (732) 458-1700.

For immediate assistance in dealing with concerns arising from this tragedy, call the Disaster Distress Helpline at (800) 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

Sette reminds us, “All of us share in the responsibility to do our part to prevent such unspeakable tragedy.”

Biden’s Gun Control Task Force Urged to Make Access to Mental Health Care Easier

For more information contact Meena Dayak, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 301.602.8474.

Washington DC, Jan. 9, 2013—Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, today met with Vice President Joe Biden’s task force on gun control legislation to request support for a legislative agenda that will dramatically increase access to mental health services in the United States. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Attorney General Eric Holder were at the meeting.

Rosenberg urged the task force to take action to increase our nation’s ability to provide timely, high-quality mental health and addictions services to individuals in need by expanding opportunities for public education about mental illness and increasing the behavioral health system’s capacity to serve people desperately needing care.

The National Council urged support to allow Mental Health First Aid to be offered in every school district and college campus across the U.S. Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that can help communities understand mental illnesses, seek timely intervention, and save lives. The core program, delivered to more than 80,000 people across the country through a network of 2,500+ instructors, has already saved lives and brought hope to many. The youth version of Mental Health First Aid has just launched, providing an ideal forum to engage communities around mental illness among young people — and show neighbors, teachers, parents, and caring citizens how to help a child or teen in crisis or who is experiencing a mental health or substance use problem.

“Even when friends and family of someone who appears to be developing mental illness can tell that something is amiss, they may not know how to intervene or direct the person to proper treatment. Mental Health First Aid can help overcome these barriers and connect people to care,” observed Rosenberg.

Support has been growing on the legislative front for widespread Mental Health First Aid training for people of all ages. U.S. Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ), who survived the Tucson shooting last year that severely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, sent a letter on Jan. 7 to Vice President Biden calling on the gun control task force to include the Mental Health First Aid Act (HR 5996) in its recommendations to Congress. The bill would provide the training to teachers, students, firefighters, police, emergency service workers and others in communities nationwide.

Rosenberg asked for Biden’s support in advancing the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which would provide a secure, steady funding stream for community-based mental health and addictions services provided by qualified organizations, to be designated as Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Centers.

“Now is the time to bolster access to mental health care and improve public safety for all Americans. The Excellence in Mental Health Act will enhance Medicaid funding for organizations, clinics, and health centers that offer community-based treatment and support for millions of low-income and vulnerable people with mental health and addiction disorders. I commend the National Council for their continued advocacy on this important issue,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) who introduced the Excellence in Mental Health Act in Congress.

The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with our 2,000 member organizations, we serve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens — the more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. The National Council also pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained more than 80,000 individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care and treatment in their communities. More at

Mental Health First Aid Helps Prevent Tragedies

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.

It 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.

See scheduled courses here and call us today to register: 732-458-1700 ext. 1118

Job Fair: January 22, 2013

Preferred Behavioral Health is recruiting Fee for Service Clinicians. We offer flexible schedules Monday-Saturday and Per-Diem work. Rates $16.00 - $60.00/hour based on position, experience and credentials. Clinical Supervision provided as needed.

  • LPC, LAC
  • Ph.D, Psy.D

Bilingual (English-Spanish) is a plus. Salary and requirements vary with each position.

Please bring originals of the following:

  • Resume
  • 2 forms of ID (i.e. Driver’s License, Social Security Card or passport)
  • 3-4 professional references Highest degree/diploma
  • If applicable: Professional certification or license List of affiliated insurance panels NPI #

When:  Tuesday, January 22, 2013 from 12:30pm - 6:30pm* 

*must register by 12:30pm & 6 :30pm for first or last interview

Where:  Preferred Behavioral Health Training Center (The suite next to General Floor)
725 Airport Road
Lakewood, NJ 08701


Please RSVP today.

Walk-ins also welcome!


For information or to schedule an appointment contact:
Chanalee Cohen
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(T) 732-367-4700 x 7121
(F) 732-364-2253

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