Mental health hotline bill goes to gov.

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    A bill establishing a hotline that connects those experiencing a mental health crisis with resources is now on the desk of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

    House Bill 4051, sponsored by state Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Twp.), was presented to the governor Thursday after receiving final passage in the Legislature this week. The hotline would be available 24 hours a day and provide access to any Michigan resident in need, she said.

    “When experiencing a mental health crisis, many people aren’t sure where to turn,” said Whiteford, a registered nurse and chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee. “The emergency room really isn’t the right place. Operators at the Michigan Crisis and Access Line will ensure everyone knows they have mental health care available to them, regardless of their insurance coverage.”

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.