Teachers learn to spot mental illness

April 11, 2013 at 12:39 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 11 (UPI) -- President Obama's 2014 budget expanded mental-health services by $130 million to help U.S. teachers recognize signs of mental illness in youth.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, said the budget helps address something on everyone's mind recently: mental-health services and the ongoing epidemic of gun violence.

"While we know that the vast majority of Americans who struggle with mental illness are not violent, recent tragedies have reminded us of the staggering toll that untreated mental illness takes on our society," Sebelius said at a news conference in Washington.

"That's why we're proposing a major new investment to help ensure that students and young adults get the treatment they need. We'll be training 5,000 mental health professionals to join our Behavioral Health Workforce. We'll be supporting Project AWARE, an effort to train teachers and other adults to detect and respond to signs of mental illness in young people. And we'll be providing support for innovative, state-based strategies that help reach young people with mental health or substance abuse issues."

The budget also improves access to healthcare services for American Indians and indigenous people of Alaska by funding additional medical services and staff at new facilities.

"We're also bolstering our commitment to America's children by providing additional support to raise the quality of child care programs and promote evidence-based home visiting for new parents. These investments work together with our support of early education initiatives to create long-lasting positive outcomes for families, and provide huge returns on investment," Sebelius said. "Children who participate in these programs are more likely to succeed in school and secure good jobs later in life. And we all benefit from a more productive workforce, lower crime rates, and reduced need for public assistance."

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