HUD and HHS Team Up to Advance the National Prevention Strategy in Montana

As part of the National Prevention Strategy (, the Helena HUD Field Office and Denver Regional HHS (Health and Human Services) Office have been working together to promote healthy and safe community environments across Montana. Created through the Affordable Care Act, this strategy identifies ways that 20 federal agencies can work individually and collaboratively to improve our nation's health.

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Specifically, the two offices have been working together to promote health and well-being by providing Mental Health First Aid ( (MHFA) training to affordable housing providers and social service agencies that interact daily with the general public.

The 8-hour MHFA course is designed to help participants recognize the symptoms and warning signs of mental illness, as well as ways to respond and help a person to get the professional assistance that he or she needs. In much the same way that traditional First Aid is designed to save the life of a person in crisis,

MHFA focuses on saving lives by recognizing the emotional distress, depression and other issues impacting individuals. These issues increasingly lead to suicide, violence, and harm to self or others when not appropriately addressed in a timely manner.

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In 2013 staff from HUD and HHS completed the coursework to become certified MHFA trainers.They have subsequently been providing free training throughout Region 8.

Most recently, in July 2015, HUD Helena Field Office Director Erik Amundson and HHS Regional Resource Consultant Lisa Cohen provided training in Missoula, Montana for 30 participants. This training course was specifically targeted to identify and address situations that occur in everyday social service and public housing settings.

National Prevention Strategy (

Mental Health First Aid (


Content Archived: January 24, 2017