Senate approves Shirkey bill to expand support for mental health services in MI

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey that would dedicate more than half a billion dollars to transforming Michigan’s ailing mental health system was approved by a near-unanimous vote of the Michigan Senate on Wednesday.

“Our state’s mental health system is failing patients, their families, health care providers and taxpayers,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Everyone in our state should have access to quality mental health services, regardless of their means or where they live. Today, we’ve taken a crucial step to make sure they do.

Senate Bill 714, which is a supplemental appropriations measure, would invest $565 million in mostly federal funding to provide communities with resources for diversion, create treatment units to reduce emergency room overcrowding, and strengthen programs to combat drug addiction. The bill would also invest significantly in community hospitals to increase bed capacity and make necessary structural improvements; help attract and retain mental health professionals; and in programs specifically designed to proactively address mental health risks in children.

“The status quo is simply not acceptable,” Shirkey said. “The targeted strategic investments in this bill are an important first step toward fully repairing Michigan’s failing mental health system,” Shirkey said. “With additional integrated mental health reforms already introduced, through good governance and a concerted effort by Michigan residents to support their mental health, that of their loved ones, neighbors and co-workers, we can provide people with the care they need.”

SB 714 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey speaks in support of Senate Bill 714, which he sponsored to spend more than half a billion dollars on transforming the nation’s ailing mental health system. Michigan.

Richard F. Gandhi