State Rep. Jason Wentworth has been named to the bipartisan House Community, Access, Resources, Education and Safety (C.A.R.E.S.) task force to explore ways to enable Michigan veterans facing mental health challenges to live happier and healthier lives, Speaker Tom Leonard announced today.
The task force aims to enhance coordination of veteran services to decrease veterans’ vulnerability to incarceration for behavior driven by post-service mental health disorders.
“I am honored and humbled to be asked to represent the interests of veterans on this panel,” said Wentworth, chair of the House Military and Veterans Committee.
The task force will hold public meetings during July and August to receive input from individuals and professionals from around the state. Additionally, the task force will tour facilities to gain a better understanding of programs available and brainstorm ideas to address the current issues.
“Holding meetings and visiting facilities all across Michigan will allow us to gather feedback on a wide variety of topics related to veterans’ mental health care,” said Wentworth, of Clare. “As a former Regional Coordinator for Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, I am well aware of many of the issues veterans suffer from.”
Information gathered from hearings and visits will help the Legislature draft legislation reforms that will result in better mental health services for veterans, and improvements to substance abuse programs and veteran treatment courts.
“Veteran treatment courts have been very successful in my district,” Wentworth said. “Many veterans with minor offenses have received the care they need rather than incarceration. I look forward to take the success of the courts in my district and implement similar programs across the state to enhance the coordination of veteran services and prevent more veterans from getting into trouble due to health disorders.”
Dates and locations of task force meetings will be announced shortly.