community mental health | Michigan Radio

community mental health

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A new report shows Michigan falls short when it comes to mental health services. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan looked at several aspects, but one of the worst was a severe shortage of mental health professionals. An estimated 1.3 million Michigan residents have a mental health condition. About 38% of people who need help are not getting it.

Photo outside of Pine Rest Psychiatric Urgent Care Center's entrance.
Photo courtesy of Colleen Cullison.

When you have an injury or illness that needs immediate attention, but isn't an emergency, you head to the urgent care center. Those facilities allow people to be seen outside of doctor's office hours while avoiding an expensive trip to the emergency room.

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids has taken that idea and applied it to mental health treatment.

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Mental health patients might have to wait longer to get their conditions diagnosed – if they can get care at all. That’s according to mental health counselors, who say a rule change by the state is about to put thousands of them out of business.

Two people playing a video game

Today on Stateside, Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin has been hesitant to call for impeachment of President Trump in the past. But she says allegations involving Trump's conversation with the Ukranian president, if true, would change her mind. Plus, why universities are embracing video games as the newest collegiate sport. 

Lauren Janes

Washtenaw County commissioners voted Thursday night to recommend Community Mental Health (CMH) cut its budget. The county has more than a $10 million budget shortfall for mental health funding.

The Commissioners' vote does not make cuts to CMH's direct services to patients. Jason Morgan chairs the board. He says the county has been able to keep those services.

Inside the doctor's office.
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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced it would end its contract with Lakeshore Regional Entity, a local group that's one of the state’s Prepaid Inpatient Health Plans (PIHPs) and coordinates mental and behavioral health care for low-income people and people with disabilities in West Michigan.

Looking down on a hand holding an open bottle of prescription drugs.
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Washtenaw County Community Mental Health is about to expand its mental health and substance abuse services. 

Starting May 1, a WCCMH team will offer ongoing treatment services to any county resident who is unable to  find a community provider in a timely manner. That's regardless of their insurance type or ability to pay for services.

"This will be a team that can respond to a crisis," said Trish Cortes, executive director of WCCMH. "And not only just respond to the crisis, but also help stabilize individuals until we can get them an appropriate provider."


Where do you go, to whom do you turn if your child needs mental health care? Child psychiatrists and parents agree: the options in Michigan are too few and far between.

This issue has led to a class action lawsuit against the state's Department of Health and Human Services. It was filed in 2018 against then-Governor Snyder, and it alleges the state has failed to meet its legal obligation under Medicaid to provide adequate services for children who have behavioral and mental health problems.

Cyndi Sibley standing in front of a brick wall
Bella Isaacs / Michigan Radio

Parents of children with severe autism in Michigan have limited options when it comes to finding long-term care for their kids.

Credit Melinda Odisho

A danger to themselves or others. That’s the threshold set by Michigan law to put someone in a psychiatric hospital.

But many families with autistic children say meeting that definition doesn’t seem to be enough for their kids--and they don’t know what to do.

This is one family’s story.

Emergency room hospital

There are few moments more stressful than witnessing your child in the grips of a mental health crisis.

In Kent County, parents who are in the middle of that situation can turn to the Children's Crisis Response Team operated by network180, the community mental health authority in Kent County.

Andrew Boekestein manages the team made up of mental health clinicians. He spoke with Stateside about the need for more services for kids experiencing a mental health crisis. 

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If certain health providers and legislators get their way, Michigan's mental health system could soon be privatized.

Pretty much everyone agrees that closer coordination of mental and physical health care would be a good thing for patients.

After all, the mind is connected to the body, but just how to get there has been up for fierce debate going on two years now.