Michigan now has a comprehensive road map to strengthen it’s Mental Health policies. On Tuesday, the state’s Mental Health and Wellness Commission released a 27-page report called, “Improving Quality of Life by Supporting Independence and Self-Determination.” The report outlines gaps in the state’s current mental health policies, and provides recommendations on how to address them.
The 6 member bi-partisan commission includes Lt. Governor Brian Calley, Director of Community Health James Haveman, and 4 state lawmakers. The panel spent the past several months studying access to mental health care across the state. After several public hearings, and work group sessions, the group recommends several ways Michigan can improve access to mental health services, and eliminate the stigma which is often a barrier to treatment. Haveman says, “One thing I like about this report is that the recommendations are very practical. And they're very consumer-focused, and they really call for a better collaboration and coordination.”
Governor Rick Snyder created the commission through an executive order in February, 2013.
Members will share the report with lawmakers. They say it will take a couple of years to implement the sweeping changes, which include better information-sharing policies between mental health care agencies, expanding juvenile mental health courts, and a public campaign aimed at reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.
Calley said, "What I want to do is encourage an atmosphere where it is just safe in our state, it is safe in Michigan for families and individuals to talk about their mental health and or substance use disorders and developmental disabilities. I think if we can get past the barrier of that stigma, that the access to care will be dramatically improve."