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State Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities receives mental health grant

Albany Herald - 12/18/2018

Dec. 18--ALBANY -- The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities announced Monday it had received a notice of award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for a mental health awareness training grant.

The project award is $125,000 annually for three years, running through Nov. 29, 2021.

"One person, whether young or old, taking his or her own life is too many," Georgia DBHDD Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald said. "This grant will fuel our collective efforts to raise awareness, educate, train and intervene so that Georgia will be at the forefront of national strategies to prevent tragic consequences."

The grant is meant to advance the Mental Health Awareness Training Project. The goal of the project is to help Georgia communities reduce risks that may contribute to suicide attempts and/or death by suicide.

"DBHDD is proud to accept and excited to implement this award," Travis Fretwell, director of DBHDD's Office of Behavioral Health Prevention, said. "These funds will allow the suicide prevention program to expand training capacity statewide from urban to rural communities."

Objectives of the grant include:

-- Provide at least 20 evidence-based mental health awareness trainings across the state annually, targeting counties in DBHDD regions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 that were identified in 2015 as having the highest rates of suicide deaths in Georgia.

-- Refer at-risk and vulnerable populations to participating community service boards, or the DBHDD's safety-net providers.

-- Train at least 600 individuals, average 200 per year, by the end of the three-year period in evidence-based trainings. This includes question-persuade-refer, adult and youth mental health first aid, assessing and monitoring suicide risk, applied suicide intervention skills training and SuicideTALK. This objective includes training 50 trainers to help sustain mental health awareness capacity after the grant ends.

Individuals targeted for MHAT will include those who can provide support to veterans, youths and older adults. Training participants will include behavioral health professionals, nurses, teachers, clergymen, community suicide prevention coalition members, caregivers, corrections staff, first responders, youth workers, school support staff, veterans and family members of armed service members.

Officials with DBHDD said trainings will be scheduled and implemented in the new year.

Anyone in a crisis can call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line for free and confidential help 24/7 at 1-800-715-4225.


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