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The award was presented to him and co-honoree Dr. Sheryl Kubiak on October 28, 2021 at the annual tribute dinner at which MHAM honors an individual or individuals who have made significant contributions to mental health policy in Michigan.
The Mental Health Association in Michigan is the only statewide, non-governmental agency concerned with the broad spectrum of mental illness across all age groups. MHAM focuses on:
President and CEO of MHAM Marianne Huff thanked Sheriff Clayton and Dr. Kubiak for the leadership and vision they have shown in addressing the challenges that exist in the intersection of mental health and the criminal legal system.
Sheriff Clayton, in his speech, in turn thanked the residents and leaders of Washtenaw County. He noted that there is still much to do, but change is possible if all work together with vision and commitment:
Thank you for honoring me tonight. However, the honor really goes to Washtenaw County as a community. Washtenaw County is a community of shared beliefs and values; including a belief that none of us should be restricted from experiencing the highest quality of life because of others’ negative perceptions of who we are or what we represent. We believe living with a mental health disorder should not be criminalized but supported so we can all be our best selves.
I also believe that we have a shared vision of what is possible. It is a vision that our partners and stakeholders share, focused on inclusivity, and proactive support for individuals living with a behavioral health disorder as well as the family and friends that support them. Although we have a long way to go in fully realizing our vision, it is possible if we all commit to the work.
Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton