Michigan Community Mental Health Agencies Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Community Mental Health Act

PR Newswire

LANSING, Mich., Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Michigan's 46 Community Mental Health agencies commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Community Mental Health Act, which provided funding for mental health centers across the United States and drastically altered the delivery of mental health services.

October marks the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's historic message to Congress urging representatives to end the inhumane institutionalization of people suffering from mental illness and developmental and intellectual disabilities. His message led to the signing of the Community Mental Health Act, which focused on community-based care as an alternative to institutionalization.

"The CMH Act symbolized a new era of delivering care to the millions of Americans living with developmental disabilities and mental illness. In recognition of the anniversary, we have paid tribute to the legislation with work throughout the month of October," said Michael Vizena, executive director of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards (MACMHB).

To commemorate the occasion, MACMHB, the educational and advocacy arm of the CMHs in the state, along with the 46 Community Mental Health agencies, delivered 50th birthday cakes throughout the state. The cakes served as a celebration of the growth and inclusion that came about as a result of this vital piece of legislation put in place by Kennedy.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 58 million American adults experience a mental health disorder each year, and one in five adults in Michigan will experience a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. MACMHB and the 46 CMHs across Michigan are dedicated to ensuring that everyone who needs treatment for mental health and substance use disorders in Michigan are able to receive care.

"Throughout October, and the entire year, I encourage individuals to be cognizant of the progress we have achieved in delivering community-based services," Vizena said. "The last 50 years have been a legacy, and we must continue to strive for awareness and advocate for sound policy to support these individuals within our communities."

The Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health convened in Boston to celebrate the 50 years of progress in meeting the goals President Kennedy articulated in 1963. The nationwide event featured advocates for mental health, presentations and a Consensus Paper developed by a panel of mental health, substance use and developmental disability leaders. 

For more information regarding mental health awareness, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net. Online tools and information about mental illness are also available at www.macmhb.org.

The Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards was created in 1967 to support county mental health services programs (CMHSPs) in promoting, maintaining and improving a comprehensive range of community-based mental health services, which enhance the quality of life, promote the emotional well-being, and contribute to healthy and secure communities which benefit all of Michigan's residents. Services managed and delivered by CMHSPs are designed to assist individuals in achieving, maintaining and maximizing their potential and are provided in accordance with the principles of person centered planning.  For more information, please visit www.macmhb.org.

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