WASHINGTON — The National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire will receive $124,914 in federal funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to train law enforcement and first responders in New Hampshire to more effectively respond to people in a mental health crisis.

The training is also intended to promote mental wellness for law enforcement and first responders in response to increased rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.

New Hampshire's congressional delegation supported the funding.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said, “It’s past time that we treat the illnesses we can’t see with the same urgency as those we can, which is why I’m very pleased to see these federal dollars come back to New Hampshire to address mental health, particularly among our first responders."

Shaheen said the money will be invested in training so first responders can better respond to crisis situations and get help to care for themselves.

"I’ll continue to push for more federal support for programs that prioritize mental health services in our communities,” she said.

NAMI NH Executive Director Ken Norton said: “NAMI NH is very excited to receive this five-year grant focused on improving the response of law enforcement and first responders to people in a mental health crisis. Training used will be the internationally recognized 40-hour Crisis Intervention training and the evidenced-based mental health first aid training for public safety."

"Both trainings also focus on promoting mental wellness for first responders, who have higher rates of depression, post-traumatic stress and suicide than the general population, factors that our federal delegation is aware of and have been working to address in Washington," Norton said. "NAMI NH looks forward to partnering with the N.H. Department of Safety, N.H. Police Standards and Training and municipal police and fire departments in accomplishing the goals of the grant.”

U.S. Rep. Anne Kuster (D-N.H.), who founded and co-chairs the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force said: “Our law enforcement and first responders go above and beyond to serve our communities and keep Granite Staters safe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for many. I’m pleased that this federal funding through SAMHSA will help ensure that they receive the mental health care and support they need. This funding will also help to provide training so that New Hampshire law enforcement and first responders are prepared to effectively and safely respond to incidents involving individuals in mental health crisis.”

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the urgency of strengthening access to mental health services, especially first responders, who she said "have seen a tough job get even tougher.”

“It is welcome news to have this federal funding come to New Hampshire and support our first responders so that they can better work with those in crisis as well as provide the first responders themselves with the tools that they need to respond to the strain and pressures of the job,” she said.

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