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CMU hosts panel on public policy and mental health to break down stigma


Central Michigan University hosted a panel discussion Tuesday on ways to destigmatize public policy surrounding mental health on college campuses.

The panel not only hosted a psychologist, but also people engaged in policy like state representatives and community mental health leaders.

Andrea LaFontaine is a Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government at CMU and the organizer of the event. She said some panelists have worked on policy before, but it was still hard to get people to come.

“Everyone's interested in the topic but nobody’s willing to talk outwardly about it. Which, to me, I interpret that as we still have a lot of work to do," she said.

The state’s mental health hotline has been seeing high usage, but she said the follow-up to the hotline is lacking.

"It was the resources at the end of that helpline that was lacking," she said. "It could be rural communities throughout Michigan that don’t have mental health professionals."

LaFontaine said the panel hopes to kickstart a conversation at the capitol.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.