What is a Mental Health Advisory Council?
Required as part of the Comprehensive Mental Health Act of 1987 and Children’s Comprehensive Mental Health Act of 1989, the State Advisory Council (SAC) and Local Advisory Councils (LACs) are designed to ensure that the mental health system is responsive to the people who use it. Providers, State and County staff, individuals and family members are all included.
Because funds for mental health services are distributed to counties and regions, the Local Advisory Council is a key place to be heard. Counties and regions determine how funds are best used to serve their communities. Mental health local advisory councils (LACs) or Adult Mental Health Initiatives (AMHIs) are established in each county or region to guide decision-making around the use of mental health funds. Per Minnesota state statute, each LAC or AMHI must include at least one individual living with a mental illness and must submit an unmet needs report to the County Commissioner. Over the past four years, MHAM has assisted these LACs and AMHIs in meeting state statute and including people living with mental illnesses in the decisions that impact their lives.
Individuals living with mental illnesses are in a unique position to weigh in on which services are most beneficial to their overall health and well-being. Moreover, we believe that when individuals are directly involved in the decision-making that affects their lives, the outcomes are stronger because the services that are actually needed get funded.
Mental Health Minnesota has worked with over twenty of Minnesota's Local Advisory Councils and Adult Mental Health Initiatives. We work to boost interest and attendance in these meetings, bringing important updates about policy developments, fostering better governance and structure within the meetings, and prioritizing the unmet needs reports that help steer the direction of mental health funding.