Given those circumstances, here is where I believe we should focus next: We need more people aware of the signs of mental illness and what can be done to help. Maryland helped bring to this country a Mental Health First Aid Program, which provides training to help teachers and others identify illnesses and steer friends and family to resources. The program should be expanded to increase the number of certified Mental Health First Aid trainers, with more key personnel in places such as schools, child serving agencies and community colleges taking this important course. Our awareness of mental health needs to become as basic and critical as CPR. In our push to make Howard County a model public health community, I pledge to commit resources toward this goal in my next budget.