Written in conjunction with John Taylor, Vice-Chair, Recipient Rights Advisory Committee at Pathways CMH
It is Dana’s priority to create a healthy and inclusive society where the needs of people with mental illnesses are met and their daily lives are fulfilling and self-determined. This commitment will make our communities stronger, safer, and healthier for all.
Mental illness affects the daily lives of one in five Americans. Their health, safety, and community inclusion are a priority. We must affirm that the civil rights of people with mental illness will be upheld and that issues of Mental Health policy, funding and legislation will receive full attention and support. To improve treatment options and quality of life for people living with mental illness in the district, Dana is adopting these vital and common sense policies on mental health and treatment issues;
Funding for Community Mental Health (CMH)
A lack of funding to the Community Mental Health (CMH) systems in Michigan needs to be addressed. Dana will work with Congressional and local lawmakers to increase budget allocations for the Mental Health General Fund, which covers uninsured and under-insured people. He’ll also work to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for psychiatric services, opening new avenues of treatment and helping attract new mental health professionals to the area.
Resist Privatization of Medicaid services
In many areas – especially rural areas like the 1st District – access to the CMH system is limited to Medicaid cases only, resulting in denial of services to average working people who critically need them. Dana will resist efforts to privatize Medicaid services in Michigan, to work to expand Medicaid eligibility, and work with elected officials to create a healthcare system that benefits all Americans.
Crisis Intervention Training
People with mental illnesses are a significant part of Michigan's incarcerated population, and under current conditions, law enforcement personnel are often called upon to handle persons who are experiencing a mental health crisis and/or suicide attempts. Funding for Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for law enforcement personnel or independent units outside law enforcement can help mitigate escalation. By working with the CMH system to improve and integrate jail assessment and diversion services for persons with mental illnesses into their services, Dana hopes to improve and modernize suicide prevention measures in Michigan's corrections system.
People with mental illnesses often live on fixed incomes and struggle with affordable housing in rural areas. Dana will work in Congress and in close consultation with the State legislature to create programs and initiatives to develop affordable and disability accessible housing in rural areas. He supports an increased funding for Direct Care Staff for people residing in group homes and Supported Independent Placements.
Ending the Stigma
People living with mental illness often face community stigma over their illnesses and can be excluded from community activities and employment opportunities for the same reason. Dana will lead by example in helping promote and show publicly his support of anti-stigma campaigns created by MDHHS and the CMH system. This will affirm the rights of people with mental illnesses to be included in their community, and work to create workplace integration and vocational training programs.