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Higgins, Compeer Buffalo announce $2,175,000 in federal grants for mental health first aid training & mentorship programs

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Fri, Oct 26th 2018 04:00 pm
Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, has announced two federal grants awarded to Compeer Buffalo to strengthen its mental health assistance programs. The grants total $2,175,000, and were awarded by the Health and Human Services Department's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.
The first grant, from SAMHSA, will expand Compeer's mental health first aid (MHFA) trainings. It awards $375,000 to be implemented over a three-year period in $125,000 increments and will allow Compeer to provide the eight-hour trainings to 2,250 people. This is in addition to the 750 individuals already slated to be trained over an overlapping two-year period thanks to funding from the Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, Patrick P. Lee Foundation, PH Collaborative, and Garman Family Foundation.
Compeer Buffalo is now the largest provider of MHFA training in Erie County.
The second grant, for $1,800,000 also over three years ($600,000 per year), comes from the OJP's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Compeer was the only recipient in New York to receive funding through the Department of Justice multistate mentoring program and one of just nine recipients across the country. The funding will allow Compeer Buffalo to expand its youth program to up to 10 affiliates nationwide. The youth program provides mentoring relationships to young people with mental health challenges, matching them with trained volunteers to foster one on one mentoring and friendship. 
Higgins said, "These important grants will go a long way in continuing and strengthening Compeer's nationally recognized mental health services here in Western New York. They have an excellent record of providing trainings and matching those diagnosed with mental illness with trained volunteers to develop supportive relationships."
"We care about bringing awareness to the importance of our mental health and reducing the stigma which sometimes goes along with reaching out for help," U.S. Rep. Tom Reed said. "Compeer does a great job at this, and we were happy to team up with Brian to ensure Western New York has increased fair access to the resources they deserve." 
Compeer CEO Tim Boling said, "The needs in our community and nationally around mental health is sky rocketing for all age groups, especially our youth. Compeer is thrilled to have been awarded these two very competitive grants. The mental health awareness training grant will allow us provide training to over 2,000 people in Erie County over the next three years who work directly with youth and adults. Our Mentoring Opportunities for Youth grant will allow us to expand our evidenced-based youth program to 11 Compeer affiliates nationwide, thereby serving over 1,000 more youth who need our services."
Compeer has been a leader in providing mental health services as well as professional training in the Western New York region since its founding in 1973. Compeer Buffalo utilizes the power of volunteer friends to improve the lives of children and adults who are striving for good mental health. Through consistent and caring relationships formed between volunteers and their friends, a sense of belonging, trust and positive self-esteem is fostered in the people referred for services. Compeer Buffalo is a member of Compeer Inc. an international organization of 50-plus affiliates headquartered in Buffalo.

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