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Lawmaker wants money for mental health training

PHOENIX — As a licensed professional counselor, Victoria Steele believes in the power of treatment.

“When someone is in crisis and they’re a teenager it can get really bad, as we have seen, if it’s not caught,” Steele said.

As a state representative, Steele believes smart public policy should include a commitment to mental health awareness and training. She recently introduced House Bill 2490, the Youth Mental Health First Aid Bill. It would set aside $250,000 to provide training for parents, teachers, coaches and others who work with children ages 12 to 18.

“This is not to make people counselors but to provide more awareness, so they can identify and tell when someone is having a mental health crisis and how to intervene and how to get them the right help, if needed,” said Steele.

Last year, Steele worked to get $250,000 to expand mental health training for adults. Now, she believes it’s important to offer the same tools to help young people.

“This is a preventative step. We need to do this,” she said.