City gets $1M for first responder mental health services

HUNGTINGON, WV (AP) — A West Virginia city has been awarded $1 million to provide in-house mental health services to first responders on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.

The Herald-Dispatch reports Huntington won the funding through the 2018 U.S. Mayor’s Challenge, which encourages city leaders to propose bold ideas for solutions to each city’s toughest problems. Huntington is one of nine winners named Monday by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg of Bloomberg Philanthropies.


The funding provides finalists with the capital for a six-month implementation phase. Mayor Steve Williams says the city’s first responders face the trauma of overdoses and heartbroken families “day in and day out.”


The city’s proposal aims to combat “compassion fatigue,” which is the feeling of depleted empathy, and includes plans to develop training to improve mental health.


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