Skip to main content

Gov. Whitmer's Plan to Expand Access to Mental Health


January 26, 2022 



Gov. Whitmer's Plan to Expand Access to Mental Health 

Growing workforce with incentives and investments would expand access to care for Michiganders 


REDFORD, Mich. -?Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed policies to invest in mental health and grow Michigan's mental health workforce in her State of the State address.  


"We need to invest in our mental health workforce, so we can put Michiganders first and ensure they have the support and resources they need to thrive," said Governor Whitmer. "Every Michigander deserves access to both mental and physical healthcareTo boost access, we need to expand the Michigan State Loan Repayment Programbuild on our work to hire more counselors, social workers, and psychologists on school campusesand implement parts of my MI Healthy Communities proposal to increase capacity for community-based behavioral health." 


"We applaud the Governor's proposals to ensure access to quality mental health services, for all Michiganders," said Robert Sheehan, CEO of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan. "Governor Whitmer's proposals to close the behavioral health work force shortage through focused loan repayments, build upon and expand the capacity of Michigan's nationally recognized community mental health system, foster the sustainability of school-based mental health services and close the coverage gap are exactly the kinds of innovative proposals needed to advance mental health care in Michigan. " 


"Mental health is just as important as physical health, and we applaud Governor Whitmer's proposals to help millions of Michigan children and families get the services and support they need." Said Jane Shank, Executive Director for the Association for Children's Mental Health"Beyond just helping Michiganders pay for quality mental health services, Governor Whitmer also recognizes that many communities lack access to trained mental health professionals. Again, the governor is putting Michiganders first by proposing programs to end that disparity." 


"We recognize, more and more every day, that there is no health without mental health. We applaud Governor Whitmer's proposal to expand access to mental health coverage in the State of Michigan." Said Dr. Gregory Dalack, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. "This is a major, important step in the effort to improve access and reduce the cost of mental health and substance use disorder treatment for Michiganders." 


"It's no secret that in addition to being a health crisis, the pandemic has also created a mental health crisis," said M. Roy Wilson, President, Wayne State University.  "As a university that trains professionals in several behavioral and mental health fields, we fully support the governor's plan to keep as many of these valuable professionals in Michigan as possible. This is vital to ensure our state's residents are able to get the care they need, and to ensure our frontline caregivers have the reinforcements they need." 


The Plan 

Governor Whitmer wants every person in Michigan to have access to the healthcare that they deserve-both mental and physical-and will work with anyone to get Michiganders the care they deserve. 


She is also calling for an?expansion of the?Michigan State Loan Repayment Program (MSLRP)?program to focused on behavioral health providers and an increase to funding for mental health professionals in our schools. This expansion will help retain or recruit hundreds of mental health care providers to Michigan.?Last year, Governor Whitmer also proposed MI Healthy Communities, a $1.4 billion proposal that would increase capacity for community-based behavioral health and substance use disorder treatments.  


By making investments in the mental health workforce, Michigan can attract and retain more mental health professionals, open up more appointments, and create good-paying jobs. 


Governor Whitmer's Plan to Expand Access to Mental Health (PDF)