A local legislator is working to bring greater awareness to mental health issues across the state.

A House Resolution passed Tuesday declaring May 2018 to be Mental Health Awareness Month in the state of Michigan. State Representative Hank Vaupel of Handy Township introduced the resolution which he said was inspired by the 1-in-5 adults in the U.S. who suffer from a mental health condition. Vaupel, who chairs the House Health Policy Committee, shed light on how widespread the problem is in Michigan. Michigan, he said, has 336,000 adults who are documented with having mental health issues. 85,000 adolescents also suffer from either anxiety or depression. Only 44% of people who need treatment are receiving some form of it.Vaupel also noted that in the long run, early diagnosis and treatment saves both money and human lives.

The representative is also co-chair of the House bi-partisan CARES Task Force which strives to investigate mental health issues and make policy changes to better connect people with access to care and treatment. As a result of their latest report, Legislature has introduced several measures to help train individuals to recognize a mental health crisis, fill the shortage of mental health providers, and address treatment and prevention in jails and the Michigan judicial system. Vaupel says he will continue to work to eliminate the stigma attached to mental illness while improving access to care for those who need it.(MK)