Compeer awarded nearly $2.2M in federal grants

Congressman Higgins and Compeer Buffalo Announce $2,175,000 in Federal Grants for Mental Health First Aid Training and Mentorship Programs

CREDIT WBFO NEWS PHOTO BY EILEEN BUCKLEY

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) has announced two federal grants awarded to Compeer Buffalo to strengthen their mental health assistance programs. The grants total $2,175,000, and were awarded by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

The first grant, from SAMHSA, will expand Compeer’s Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings. It awards $375,000 to be implemented over a three-year period in $125,000 increments and will allow Compeer to provide the eight-hour trainings to 2,250 people. This is in addition to the 750 individuals 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. Compeer Buffalo is now the largest provider of MHFA training in Erie County.

The second grant, for $1,800,000 also over three years at $600,000 per year, comes from the OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Compeer was the only recipient in New York State to receive funding through the Department of Justice Multistate Mentoring Program and one of just nine recipients across the country. The funding will allow Compeer Buffalo to expand their Youth Program to up to 10 of their affiliates nationwide. The Youth Program provides mentoring relationships to young people with mental health challenges, matching them with trained volunteers to foster one on one mentoring and friendship.

Congressman Higgins said, “These important grants will go a long way in continuing and strengthening Compeer’s nationally recognized mental health services here in Western New York. They have an excellent record of providing trainings and matching those diagnosed with mental illness with trained volunteers to develop supportive relationships.”

“We care about bringing awareness to the importance of our mental health and reducing the stigma which sometimes goes along with reaching out for help,” Rep. Tom Reed said. “Compeer does a great job at this, and we were happy to team up with Brian to ensure Western New York has increased fair access to the resources they deserve.”

“The needs in our community and nationally around mental health is sky rocketing for all age groups, especially our youth. Compeer is thrilled to have been awarded these two very competitive grants.  The Mental Health Awareness Training grant will allow us provide training to over 2,000 people in Erie county over the next three years who work directly with youth and adults.  Our Mentoring Opportunities for Youth grant will allow us to expand our evidenced based Youth program to 11 Compeer affiliates nationwide thereby serving over 1,000 more youth who need our services,” said Compeer CEO Tim Boling.

Compeer has been a leader in providing mental health services as well as professional training in the Western New York region since its founding in 1973. 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.

Coverage on this announcement can be found at the following:

Buffalo Business First
WBFO-FM 88.7
WIVB-TV
Niagara Frontier Publications
WBEN-AM 930

Compeer awarded $374,000 from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to administer Mental Health First Aid training, now largest provider in Erie County

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.

 

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