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March 25, 2022

Anna Maria granted $1M for mental health training of public safety workers

Photo | Courtesy of Anna Maria College Paxton Fire Department and Anna Maria College have strengthened their relationship. Pictured (from left) are Chandler Czarnota, ’21 fire science; Dr. James Carritte, director of fire science and emergency programs; Professor Gary Daugherty; Jim Carlton, company firefighter/paramedic; Meghan Stevens, company firefighter/EMT; Anna Maria College President Mary Lou Retelle; Brock Eskildsen, ’23 fire science; and Paxton Fire Chief Mike Pingitore

Anna Maria College in Paxton received just over $1 million in federal funds to increase its number of Mental Health First Aid instructors, the college announced Thursday.

Mental Health First Aid is a nationally recognized training program from the National Council of Mental Wellbeing, and teaches participants about mental health and substance use. The training is geared toward all public safety sectors, including law enforcement fire science, paramedic medicine, corrections and dispatch. 

Anna Maria, which already has an established educational center for public safety professionals, will use the funds to enhance and expand its training capacity. The expansion will allow the college to ensure every student in its professional studies curriculum graduates with a mental health first aid certification. 

The grant is from Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey's Congressionally Directed Spending requests submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to Anna Maria’s press release. 

“Anna Maria College was established to support communities through education and service. For us, this means addressing mental health, one of the most pressing concerns that communities face,” said Anna Maria President Mary Lou Retelle, in a written statement. 

The grant follows a $2-million award which the college received in June and has put toward its mental health and social work programs.

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