Since becoming a member of the Indiana Senate, Mike Crider has always tried to get common sense legislation centered around mental health passed.
His efforts haven't gone unnoticed, as the Republican Senator from Greenfield recently earned the Government Leadership Award from Mental Health America of Indiana.
Crider told Giant FM, it was an honor to be noticed.
"It's always an honor to have someone notice the effort you put in. We don't do this for awards or recognition, but it does validate the effort when others agree with the goals of the legislation. I have worked since elected to help with mental health because I know how drastically it impacts society from my time working at the hospital. In a room full of real hero's who are working directly with patients, this award is special," Crider said.
Crider said he has seen up close the impact mental health can have on an individual, both personally and professionally.
"I have family members and many of my acquaintances have family members who struggle with some aspect of this disease so my hope is that by focusing on it we can reduce the stigma around the subject. I speak about it often during my presentations and the topic resonates with many in the crowds so I know it is prevalent," Crider told Giant FM.
Professionally, Crider saw issues when he oversaw security at Hancock Regional Hospital, further pushing his desire to help.
"My real interest began during my stint at the hospital, where often I was in the ER dealing with people in crisis, and I would listen to their stories and see how it impacted them and their families. You can see that it doesn't matter how rich or poor the patient is or how prominent their family is, the disease whether mental health or addiction know no boundaries," he told Giant FM.
With the 2020 legislative session rapidly approaching, Crider has a slew of bills centered around mental health he is working on.
One bill pertains to schools, he said.
"This next session, I will be carrying a follow up bill to my grant program we passed last year that requires schools that apply for the grant funds to have an established relationship with a mental health provider or community mental health center," Crider said.
But, that's only the beginning.
"Another bill attempts to address parity in insurance coverage for mental health services as compared to physical health challenges. The third bill seeks to create a mental health commission to review the mental health system from top to bottom to determine what is working and what areas need attention. Things like where and how is the money allocated and are we capturing all of the federal dollars possible, how can we strengthen local resources to the point that a person in crisis can get services as quickly and locally as possible. A big topic and likely a long project, but one that will produce action items we can act on during coming sessions," Crider said.
He told Giant FM, he will always fight for mental health legislation.
"I guess the point is that much of my past legislation has been focused on this topic and so long as I am re-elected, I intend to keep working on it as long as I am fortunate enough to serve," he said.