Mental illness is a very real concern for many people — whether it affects them personally or someone they love. Seeking treatment and finding quality care are the best solutions. Michigan’s leaders are taking steps to ensure residents with mental health concerns are getting the help they need.
A detailed 29-page report recently released by the Michigan Mental Health and Wellness Commission offers recommendations that take a giant step toward modernizing and improving the delivery of mental health services to state residents.
The commission has diverse membership and has accomplished much since it was formed last year. It was established by an executive order from Gov. Rick Snyder and its bipartisan members include Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Department of Community Health Director James Haveman, Sen. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale, Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine, and Rep. Phil Cavanagh, D-Redford.
The comprehensive proposals are geared to giving those suffering from mental illness — as well as those with developmental disabilities and addictions — a much better quality of life.
In drafting its report, the commission constructed its recommendations around three basic goals: advancing more opportunities for independence and self-determination for the mentally ill; providing better access to high quality, coordinated and consistent service and care between agencies and service providers; and establishing ways to evaluate the effectiveness of services provided.
Tom Watkins, president and executive director of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, notes that while statistics are important in measuring the project’s success, the recommendations focus on the individual.
“The report looks at a number not just as a statistic but as somebody’s father, mother, son or daughter,” Watkins says.
The recommendations are solid. They should now become policy.