IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
June 21, 2012
Mr. Begich introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
To authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in coordination with the Secretary of Education, to carry out a 5-year demonstration program to fund mental health first aid training programs at 10 institutions of higher education to improve student mental health.
This Act may be cited as
Mental Health First Aid Higher
Education Act of 2012.
Demonstration program for mental health first aid training at institutions of higher education
In this Act:
The term institution of higher education means an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)).
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in coordination with the Secretary of Education.
Demonstration program authorized
The Secretary may carry out a demonstration program consisting of awarding grants to 10 institutions of higher education for implementation of a mental health first aid training program described in subsection (d) to improve student mental health.
Demonstration program duration
The demonstration program under this section is authorized to be carried out for a total period of not more than 5 years.
Mental health first aid training program described
A mental health first aid training program described in this subsection—
shall be designed to train individuals in the categories listed in subsection (e) to accomplish the objectives described in subsection (f);
shall ensure that training is conducted by trainers that are properly licensed and credentialed by nonprofit entities as designated by the Secretary; and
at a minimum—
a core course of up to 12 hours in length for individuals in the categories listed in subsection (e) on the skills, resources, and knowledge to assist individuals in crisis to connect with appropriate local mental health care services;
training on available off-campus mental health resources in the State and local community; and
training on action plans and protocols for referral to such resources; and
where feasible, continuing education and updated training for individuals in the categories listed in subsection (e).
Categories of individuals To be trained
The categories of individuals listed in this subsection are, with respect to individuals at an institution of higher education, the following:
On-campus counseling center personnel.
Dormitory resident advisers.
Members of threat assessment and disciplinary committees.
Coaches and other athletic department employees.
Members of threat assessment teams.
Other administrators and personnel of the institution of higher education, as determined appropriate by the Secretary.
Objectives of training
A mental health first aid training program funded under this section shall be designed to train individuals in the categories listed in subsection (e) to accomplish each of the following objectives:
Safe de-escalation of crisis situations.
Recognition by individuals in the categories listed in subsection (e) of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, including mental illnesses typically encountered on campus such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major clinical depression, and anxiety disorders.
Timely referral to mental health services in the early stages of developing mental disorders in order to—
avoid more costly subsequent behavioral health care; and
assist the student to maintain enrollment.
In awarding grants under subsection (b), the Secretary shall ensure that the grant recipients are located in geographically disparate cities and States across the United States.