Letter: Huizenga leads on mental health reform

Our community and our country are in crisis. Day in and day out, families experience the need for mental health care reform here in West Michigan.
Too often this crisis goes untreated and unnoticed, as many suffer in silence while their careers fall apart. Other times we see it manifest through an addiction that tears relationships and families apart. And with what seems to be a growing frequency, it plays out in the pages of The Sentinel and on the evening news as horribly violent atrocities that end with the loss of life.
While these tragic stories are reported with vigor, what hasn’t been widely reported are the steps our elected officials have taken to address this ongoing crisis.
I was extremely happy to see that, over the summer, Congressman Bill Huizenga partnered with Pine Rest, a recognized leader in mental health services, to introduce legislation to address the mental health crisis our nation faces.
The INPATIENT Act (“Huizenga introduces mental health legislation,” Sentinel, July 14) increases access to mental health care for those who need it the most, especially in underserved communities. By creating a test program, Huizenga’s bill would allow doctors to share data on successful treatments for mental health as well as treatments designed to address opioid addiction. Additionally, Dr. Mark Eastberg, the head of Pine Rest, has said the reforms would lead to lower costs for care.
We need to have skilled mental health care professionals, like those at Pine Rest, advising and consulting with our elected officials to make sure the policies being discussed will have a meaningful impact. Working with local leaders to help those in need get better access to care at lower costs is precisely what is needed to address the mental health care crisis.
Thank you for leading by example, Congressman Huizenga.
Rebecca Davis