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Arizona is offering a mental health first aid program in wake of the Newtown, Conn. shootings.

"It helps people identify those early signs and symptoms," said Cory Nelson with the Arizona Department of Health Services. "It really is a focus on getting those individuals that have first contact with somebody that may be experiencing a mental health emergency -- or the early signs -- and then it helps them to decide what to do in that situation."

Nelson said awareness of mental health issues is very important and should be treated like any other medical condition.

The 12-hour course is available to anyone.

Nelson said more than 1,500 people across Arizona have taken the course.

Martha Maurer, News Editor

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