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Capitol Connection - June 2015

June 2, 2015

Congressional Recess Activities
Are you looking to help out the NLN this summer? The House and Senate will be back in their respective districts/states for the July 4th holiday as well as the month of August for what is called Congressional recess. This presents the perfect opportunity for you to communicate directly with your members of Congress while they are home to show your support for NLN’s public policy priorities.

As a nurse educator and a constituent, you have an important voice. During the upcoming Congressional recess periods (June 29 - July 3 and August 3 (House) or August 10 (Senate) - September 7), the NLN needs you to talk to your Congressional members about

  • HRSA’s Title VIII nursing workforce development programs and their contribution to building the infrastructure of nurses our country needs
  • Becoming a member of the House or Senate Nursing Caucus

We need your support to encourage Congress to build and sustain an infrastructure of qualified nurses and nurse faculty for the nation. Concerned about how to contact your US senators and representative or what to say? Don’t worry. The NLN has compiled the 2015 Congressional Recess Toolkit with all of the information you need. This includes talking points, sample letters, how to attend a town hall meeting, and other important advocacy tips and tools.

The Mental Health First Aid Act Introduced in House and Senate
The Mental Health First Aid Act of 2015 (S. 711/H.R. 1877) authorizes $20 million for the Mental Health First Aid program. Under this funding, participants will be trained in:

  • Recognizing the symptoms of common mental illnesses and substance use disorders
  • De-escalating crisis situations safely
  • Initiating timely referral to mental health and substance abuse resources available in the community

Training programs under this project will be offered to emergency services personnel, police officers, teachers/school administrators, primary care professionals, students, and others with the goal of improving Americans’ mental health, reducing stigma around mental illness, and helping people who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm and referring them to appropriate treatment. Studies have shown that mental health first aid successfully increases help provided to others and guidance to professional help, and improves concordance with health professionals about treatment. The Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 711/H.R. 1877) was introduced in the Senate by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and in the House by Congresswomen Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Doris Matsui (D-CA). The NLN signed onto a letter supporting the act.

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