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Rep. Vaupel works to increase mental health awareness

A resolution introduced by state Rep. Hank Vaupel declaring May 2018 as Mental Health Awareness Month in the state of Michigan was approved today by the state House.

Vaupel, who was appointed by the House Speaker to co-chair the House bi-partisan mental health task force, called the C.A.R.E.S. Task Force, said he was inspired to introduce the resolution because one in five adults in the U.S. have a mental health condition, half of which suffer from a co-occurring substance use disorder.

The legislator chairs the House Health Policy Committee and said many of the tens of thousands of Michigan residents who live with mental and behavioral health illnesses struggle to get the care they need.

“In any given year, around 336,000 adults in Michigan are documented having a serious mental illness and 84,000 adolescents experience a major depressive episode with only 44 percent of all individuals receiving some form of treatment,” said Vaupel, of Fowlerville. “This resolution is one small step toward increasing awareness for our state’s mental health care needs.”

The C.A.R.E.S. Task Force report, published in January, contained several recommendations to better connect people with access to care, treatment and prevention to improve their quality of life.

As a result of the recommendations, the Legislature has introduced several measures to address treatment and prevention in Michigan’s jails and judicial system, train individuals to recognize a mental health crises, expand opportunities for people in need to be connected with care, fill the shortage of mental health providers, deliver care early to adolescents and ensure veterans are connected with services.

“We continue to work to eliminate the stigma attached to mental illness and do all we can to improve access to care for those in need,” Vaupel said.

House Resolution 305 was approved by the Michigan House.

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