We are experiencing a mental health crisis in our state, and the budget proposed by the GOP does nothing to address it.
The opioid crisis, suicide rates, school safety challenges, and needs of persons with disabilities are at unprecedented levels. Yet the GOP budget is nowhere close to providing the funding our distressed Community Mental Health providers need to provide adequate services.

Michigan can and must do better.

Let’s make some calls this week and make sure our legislators know this neglect of our most challenged Michiganders will not stand.

Support budget increases for County Community Mental Health:

Background. Currently, the Michigan legislature is stalled on budget negotiations, with Republicans not sharing their proposals with Democrats. Michiganders run the risk of a budget that has shortfalls in many necessary programs, such as public transit, fixing the roads, education, and particularly, public health. Currently, Michigan’s public health system can no longer meet the needs of the people who depend on this care. County funds are used to cover state Medicaid obligations, and General Fund support for public mental health has fallen dramatically.

Why is increasing support for mental health important?
There has been an increase in suicide rates, opioid addiction, mental illness, concerns for children’s safety in schools, and a need to help individuals with disabilities become productive members of their communities.

In the past, Michigan had one of the most advanced public health systems in the country. However, Medicaid expansion led to a General Fund support reduction for mental health, because it was believed that Medicaid could cover it. But Medicaid only covers 20 mental health visits per year.. There are barriers to signing up for Medicaid and not all are eligible. Any costs not covered by Medicaid have been passed on to County Mental Health systems.  Our systems are near collapse. The need for more funding is urgent.

What is happening? The Michigan House and Senate are working on the state budget. One of the most financially neglected public systems is our system of Community Mental Health. The legislature has an opportunity and obligation to restore past funding cuts and increase funding.

What can we do? We can call the following State House Representatives and Senators who should be concerned about Michigan’s mental health system crisis. Please call:

State Senator Ruth Johnson, 14thDistrict: 517-373-1636
State Senator Pete Lucido, 8thDistrict: 517-373-7670
State Senator Jim Runestad, 15thDistrict 517-373-1758                  
State Representative Mike Mueller, 51stDistrict, 517-373-1780
State Representative Tommy Brann, 77thDistrict, 517-373-2277

Call to State Representatives:
Hello, I’m a Michigan voter and I want to encourage Representative/Senator _________to support restored and increased funding to Michigan’s Community Mental Health System. There is currently a crisis as needs surpass availability of adequate mental health care. Needs range from addressing the opioid crisis, increased suicide rate, keeping residents safe and cared for, and improving the ability of persons with disabilities to be successful members of their communities.

Information provided by Susan Gannon of Michigan Resistance.

Additional resources:
https://www.nasw-michigan.org/news/439890/Systemic-Underfunding-of-Michigans-Public-Mental-Health-System.htm