FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) – Pre-filed legislation in Frankfort to create the Kentucky Mental Health First Aid training program would allow people with mental illness get access to the help they need.
People who go through the program will learn how to identify and assist those who may have a mental illness, substance use disorder or may be experiencing a mental health crisis.
According to the United Health Foundation, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Kentucky and the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 34.
Studies also show a higher risk of substance abuse among those living with mental illness.
State health leaders praised the mental health first aid training program, saying it could help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Republican Rep. Kim Moser, who has a background in nursing, believes training is critical to safely and effectively care for someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
"Individuals suffering from mental illness are more likely to be justice-involved,” Moser, who is on the House Committee on Health and Family Services, said. “We have a huge number of incarcerated folks who are essentially being housed in jail because they haven't gotten treatment early."
If the Kentucky Mental Health First Aid training program passes through the legislative session, it will be administered through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and will be funded through state and federal appropriations, grants and private donations.