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Whitmer makes appointments to school safety, mental health commission

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday made appointments to a state commission charged with making recommendations in a bid to reduce youth suicides and strengthen the mental health of school-aged children and their families.

The School Safety and Mental Health Commission, created in the new fiscal budget starting Oct. 1, will seek input from educational professionals, mental health professionals and organizations from across this state to suggest approaches to identify and support students at risk of behavioral health issues, according to a release from Whitmer's office. 

"Every kid in Michigan has a birthright to a phenomenal public education, and we need to work together to ensure they can thrive by investing in their overall well-being, including mental and behavioral health," Whitmer said.

"Since I took office, we have enacted four balanced, bipartisan education budgets including the highest state per-student funding ever and dedicated resources for school safety and mental health. Today’s appointees to the School Safety and Mental Health Commission will ensure that we use our resources effectively to keep our kids safe and learning in-person," Whitmer said.

The commission consists of individuals appointed by the governor and individuals appointed from recommendations by the Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader and Senate Minority Leader.

Staffers from the department of education, Michigan State Police, and the department of health and human services will serve as members of the commission.

Appointees are:

Daveda J. Colbert, the superintendent of the Wayne Regional Education Service Agency, of Farmington Hills.

Patrick R. Green, a marine enforcement officer and reserve police officer for New Baltimore Police Department, of New Baltimore.

Dr. Alyse F. Ley, a physician and director for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program at Michigan State University, of Okemos.

Dr. Nasuh Malas, a clinical associate professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan, of of Ann Arbor.

Jason Russell, the founder and CEO of Secure Education Consultants, a consulting company that seeks to improve risk management and security within organizations and primarily in school districts, of Middleville.

Jennifer Taiariol, school psychologist and director of student services for Livonia Public Schools, of South Lyon.

Rosa M. Thomas, the chief operations officer for Honor Community Health, a non-profit community healthcare center that includes school-based health centers, of of Milford.