Executive order to strengthen mental health services in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today expanded the scope and responsibilities of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission and the Mental Health Diversion Council through Executive Order 2014-7.

Both the commission and council are chaired by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, and were established last year by Snyder through executive orders to enhance support for mental health initiatives in Michigan.

“The Mental Health and Wellness Commission and the Mental Health Diversion Council have each done great work finding solutions to improve the education, prevention, treatment of and recovery from mental illnesses in our state,” Snyder said. “I am confident these changes will only improve upon the great work that’s already being done.”

The commission is located within the Michigan Department of Community Health. It advises the department to help strengthen the state's mental health system. This includes considering the best solutions for education, public safety, veterans, independence, and service delivery. The commission produced a report of its findings, offering solutions to improve these services so Michiganders living with mental health conditions can find a great quality of life, safety, and independence.

“As we traveled to communities seeking input about how we could improve the mental health system, it became clear that issues such as transportation directly impact services and the level of care that our residents receive,” said DCH Director James Haveman. “The recommendations made by the commission have already led to positive changes and the expanded priority areas will only help to further the progress that has already been made.”

Today’s executive order amends EO 2013-6, which created the commission, to add additional responsibilities. It is now also tasked with reviewing and recommending solutions to overcoming transportation challenges for those with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses, and substance use disorders; supporting the expansion of the scope of the diversion council to include juvenile justice; developing transition planning for parents and children, and evaluating the policies, programs and services outlined in the commission’s report. The order also extends the sunset date of the commission to Dec. 31, 2015.

Additionally, today’s executive order modifies EO 2013-7 to add further responsibility and to amend the membership requirements of the council. The council advises and assists DCH with the implantation of the Diversion Action Plan and provides recommendations for statutory, contractual or procedural changes to improve diversion. It will now also be charged with reviewing juvenile justice as it relates to mental health, and juvenile justice diversion, in addition to its original responsibilities.

The order also adds four additional appointments to the council to add expertise with juvenile justice. It will now be composed of 18 total members appointed by the governor. The four members added by this executive order will be appointed for terms expiring Jan. 30, 2018.

Of the members initially appointed, four members will be appointed for terms expiring on Jan. 30, 2015; five members will be appointed for terms expiring on Jan. 30, 2016; and five members shall be appointed for terms expiring on Jan. 30, 2017. After the initial appointments, members of the council shall serve a term of four years.

“We have made a concerted effort to focus more attention on improving mental health awareness and education throughout state government,” said Calley. “This is a fundamental need in our state and these initiatives are making a positive impact. I am eager to continue this great work.”

Improving mental health, wellness and awareness has been a major focus of the administration. For more information on these efforts, visit michigan.gov/mentalhealth.

The full text of EO 2014-7 is available here.

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