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News and Notes: Monarch receives national Mental Health First Aid grant to train public safety professionals

Mental Health First Aid storyMonarch is one of only eight organizations in the United States, and the only one in the Southeast, to receive a Mental Health First Aid USA (MHFA) grant to train up to 120 public safety professionals in rural areas.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 86 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies serve less than 50,000 people, and many agencies within that 86 percent employ between one and 24 officers serving communities with populations under 25,000.

Often, these local and state law enforcement officers are called to respond to individuals experiencing emotional or mental stress, and mental health training and county partnerships have proven to be effective in helping officers respond to crises.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant,” said Blake Martin, chief development officer for Monarch. “We know there is a strong need to educate public safety professionals about responding to people with mental illness and we are proud to be a leader in that training.”

Because 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 youth experience mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), the eight-hour course teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.

Monarch partnered with MHFA USA last summer, and since then has certified four individuals as MHFA trainers and facilitated trainings for nearly 300 people in North Carolina.

They have also collaborated with local community colleges to train 150 professionals and staff in MHFA.

Monarch plans to expand MHFA training into other communities around North Carolina and will lead Youth MHFA training in May in partnership with the Stanly County Schools.

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