LANSING, Mich., Jan. 25, 2023 — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered the State of the State address tonight before a joint session of the Legislature at the Capitol in Lansing. In the speech, the governor discussed her legislative agenda for the new term, which includes addressing the mental health crisis, bolstering the economy, increasing public safety, lowering costs for families, protecting fundamental rights, supporting workers, investing in early childhood education and attracting talent to Michigan.

“I am excited the House now has a dedicated committee to work on the issues of mental health and wellness,” said state Rep. Stephanie A. Young (D-Detroit). “The Behavioral Health Subcommittee shows our commitment to helping Michiganders suffering from mental illness. I’m pleased the governor sees the importance of addressing the mental health crisis, as well.”

Young was joined by Kevin Fischer, who is the executive director of the Michigan National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Fischer is a retired businessman and joined NAMI as a volunteer in 2011 after his oldest son, Dominique, was diagnosed with a mental illness in late 2007 and was lost to suicide in 2010. After serving on the NAMI Michigan Board of Directors as the NAMI Walks Chairperson for two years and board vice president for two years, Kevin accepted the role of executive director in 2014.

“We’ve lost far too many young people to suicide,” said Young. “We need to aggressively address this issue for the health and wellbeing of everyone in our state.”

Young’s other guest for the evening was Dawn Wilson-Clark, the lead organizer and researcher for 482 Forward — a grassroots organization dedicated to improving Detroit’s schools. Wilson-Clark is a community activist focused on fair and affordable housing and the overall health and wellness of her community, Brightmoor in northwest Detroit. After she tragically lost her 13-year-old nephew from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on social media, she has since added youth suicide prevention to her advocacy work. Wilson-Clark recently was able to purchase and is renovating the Brightmoor Community Center to make it a hub for mental and physical health resources.