Livingston County is the site for the first ever public meeting by a legislative group set on addressing mental health concerns throughout the state.

The Michigan House’s mental health task force will be at the Livingston County EMS Building this Monday at 10:30am. The EMS Building is located at 1900 Tooley Road, in Howell. State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township co-chairs the group along with fellow Representative Klint Kesto of Commerce Township. This bi-partisan task force, consisting of 7 republicans and 7 democrats, will be using this meeting to get an overarching view of the state of mental illness in this area. Vaupel spoke of the dangers in not getting people the help they need. He said he believes the cost in human lives is the real tragedy. Vaupel said that if they can coordinate efforts between behavioral health and physical health, that that will go a long way in helping people lead productive lives, while also creating a savings to the taxpayers.

The task force has invited a panel of experts to the meeting to learn what’s working well for them, what isn’t working well for them, and what can be done moving forward. There will be representatives present from the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, Brighton Hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Community Mental Health, Veterans Administration, and the Woodland Correctional Facility. The task force ultimately hopes to use what they learn to help pass legislation that can help in many ways. They aim to find and create more consistency in mental health services, greater support for veterans, better attention to substance abuse, and enhanced training for law enforcement. The public can submit suggestions and questions regarding mental health care to Vaupel at his email, (MK)