BUFFALO, NY – Compeer Buffalo has been awarded a $374,000 grant to administer Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over a three-year period, Compeer Buffalo will train 2,250 individuals in addition to the 750 already slated to be trained over an overlapping two-year period thanks to funding from the Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, Patrick P. Lee Foundation, PH Collaborative, and Garman Family Foundation. Additionally, this allows Compeer Buffalo to bring their number of trained MHFA instructors to 12. Compeer Buffalo is now the single largest provider of Mental Health First Aid training in Erie County.
This particular grant will target training to veteran’s service providers; first responders; college students, faculty and staff; and WNY area K-12 districts, leadership and other service partners. This is in addition to other MHFA trainings offered by Compeer Buffalo available to the general public.
“The need in our community around mental health has been sky rocketing. This grant will help us train over 2,000 people in the Mental Health First Aid program. Those trained will be able to assist those in the community who may be having a mental health crisis and direct them to appropriate support and services,” said Compeer Buffalo CEO Tim Boling.
Similar to traditional First Aid and CPR, Mental Health First Aid is help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis resolves. Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based public education and prevention tool improving the public’s knowledge of mental health and substance use problems while connecting people with care for their mental health or substance use problems. People who enroll in local Mental Health First Aid courses learn a five-step action plan to help loved ones, colleagues, neighbors and others cope with mental health or substance use problems.
Compeer Buffalo currently partners with Erie Community College to train faculty, staff, students and community partners in MHFA thanks to a federal grant awarded in 2015. As a result, 460+ individuals were trained; 61 percent indicated they used what they learned with a student(s) within 90 days of training. More than 85 percent of participants felt equipped to recognize signs that someone may be dealing with a mental health problem, substance use challenge or crisis; felt that they could ask a person whether they’re considering killing themselves; and felt that they could reach out to someone who may be dealing with a mental health problem, substance use challenge, or crisis.
“The Mental Health First Aid Training has increased the level of understanding for faculty and staff when referring a student who is experiencing a behavioral health crisis. For our students, this training has been an invaluable resource. It has facilitated in the reduction of stigma and allowed students to have an open and honest conversation about behavioral health as well as increased their knowledge of intercampus and community resources that promote the completion of their educational pursuits. We are very proud to partner with Compeer Buffalo in this endeavor,” said Erie Community College South Campus Dean of Students Heather Cruz.
ABOUT SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
ABOUT COMPEER BUFFALO
Compeer Buffalo utilizes the power of volunteer friends to improve the lives of children and adults who are striving for good mental health. Through consistent and caring relationships formed between volunteers and their friends, a sense of belonging, trust and positive self-esteem is fostered in the people referred for our services. Compeer Buffalo is a member of Compeer, Inc. an international organization of 50+ affiliates headquartered in Buffalo, NY.