SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Julie Morrison was pleased to see the governor sign a new state law allowing the Department of Human Services to facilitate mental health first aid training programs for people like teachers, librarians and pastors who spend a great deal of time working with the public.

These programs train people on how to recognize the early warning signs of mental health and substance abuse disorders and crises.

“Catching a mental health problem or substance abuse disorder early can save its victim years of anguish,” Morrison said. “A respected leader like a teacher or minister can help d

irect an individual to a full treatment program, but only if they recognize the warning signs.”

When she served West Deerfield Township supervisor, Morrison arranged a mental health first aid training session for local residents. She says it was well attended and much appreciated.

“If mental health training were as common as CPR training, I think we’d live in a different world,” Morrison said. “We need to keep working to remove the stigma from mental health issues and find people the help they need.”

DHS will distribute grants for these training programs as funds become available, focusing on rural areas and regions with a shortage of mental health professionals.