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Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. – Scott Adams
That best portion of a good man’s life; His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. – William Wordsworth
President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law H.R. 4302, a bill to temporarily stave off Medicare physician payment cuts that also includes the historic Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration program. The legislation, which passed the House last Thursday and the Senate on Monday night, establishes a $900 million, two year demonstration program in eight unspecified states to offer a broad range of mental health and substance use treatment services, including 24-hour crisis psychiatric services, while setting new standards for provider organizations.
“This represents the largest single federal investment in community-based mental and substance use treatment in well over a generation,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “After decades of devastating funding cuts, this represents a turning point in terms of federal support of community mental health services. As many as 240,000 people will be able to receive critical behavioral health services as a result of Excellence Act funding. Much work remains to ensure quality mental health and substance use treatment services are available to all who need them, but today is a day for celebrating this historic moment. And for applauding the bill’s tireless bipartisan champions, Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Blunt (R-MO) along with Representatives Matsui (D-CA) and Lance (R-NJ).”
“Today’s vote is a landmark step forward in the effort to expand community mental health services for people living with mental illness and reduce the stigma around mental illness,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, the bill’s lead sponsor. “This is a critically important issue that touches all of our families in some way and this legislation is one of the most significant steps in decades to expand access to care. I’m so thankful for the National Council for Behavioral Health’s strong support as we worked in a bipartisan way to strengthen mental health services.”
The legislation will reduce high hospital emergency room utilization among persons living with behavioral health conditions while easing the burden on hard-pressed law enforcement agencies in urban and rural areas. Additionally, the Excellence Act demonstration will assist the young men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with service-connected mental disorders, including clinical depression and PTSD.
To recognize the theme of mental illness and care presented in this year’s Great Michigan Read, Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg, we are presenting the special exhibit, “Creative Minds Changing Minds,” throughout the Woodmere (Main) Branch of the Traverse Area District Library April 6-12.
The exhibit is comprised of artwork created by people living with mental illness from across Michigan collected by the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards. It is the hope that this exhibit will not only highlight the recovery potential of art but also help to de-stigmatize mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities and addictive disorders by showcasing the multidimensionality of the artists. The community is invited to visit the library and peruse this display of art on display on both the first and second floor of the library including the Atrium.
This year’s Great Michigan Read, Annie’s Ghosts, has a focus far beyond author Steve Luxenberg and his journey of uncovering a family secret. The themes raised in this book – mental illness and care, immigration, genealogy and family secrets – reach everyone.
Our community newsletter, Our Journey April Issue, has information on the upcoming 10th annual Walk A Mile In My Shoes Rally, some fun tidbits related to National Stress Awareness Month, and many other interesting items related to April. Take a look!
The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness. – Maya Angelou
… find the joy of life. Kindness deepens the spirit and produces rewards that cannot be completely explained in words. It is an experience more powerful than words. To become acquainted with kindness one must be prepared to learn new things and feel new feelings. Kindness is more than a philosophy of the mind. It is a philosophy of the spirit.
– Robert J. Furey, Author
The Action Group meeting yesterday was very well facilitated by Katie Deller, one of our two new Recovery Specialists (pictured on the right here with her counterpart, Windy Near). She did a great job! There was lots of great discussion and very helpful information on nutrition, volunteer opportunities, and dealing with stigmatizing language, as well as ideas shared on continuing to build the momentum of this group. Click here for the March Minutes. Please note that next month’s meeting will coincide with the Great Michigan Reads Author event we have at the Traverse Area District Library (more info coming soon!) and we are looking at planning a social event for Action Group in the afternoon as an alternative to our regular meeting. If you are interested in information on that contact Katie (231) 876-3262) or Windy (989) 344-3015.