Efforts to assist Michigan residents with mental health challenges making progress in 2015

Michigan has made considerable progress this year in its efforts to help residents facing mental health challenges, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has made great strides in setting in place the 60 recommendations put forth by the Mental Health and Wellness Commission, expanding efforts to help children and adults facing a variety of struggles.

“We have made great strides in improving mental health and wellness for all Michiganders, though we still have a long way to go,” Calley said. “Through a strong commitment to improving opportunities and resources available  for all Michiganders, we will continue to create a better state for everyone that ensures mental health as a key component of overall health and wellness.”

Progress in 2015 includes:

Health Homes: Rolling out demonstrations in Manistee, Washtenaw, and Grand Traverse counties to provide in-home integrated physical and behavioral healthcare for individuals with serious mental health conditions.

Children’s Behavioral Action Teams: Referring children across the state to Children’s Behavioral Action Teams which work with relatives and community partners to transition high-risk youth out of institutions and into their communities. The program is currently assisting 14 youth in seven Michigan counties, and has helped discharge seven youth from the Hawthorn Center.

Stigma Reduction Campaign: Partnering with advocacy organizations across the state to implement the campaign on traditional and social media.

Project UNIFY: Working with 162 schools and the Special Olympics’ initiative, encouraging more inclusive school environments for children with developmental disabilities.

Project SEARCH: Eleven schools are now placing young adults with developmental disabilities as interns in local businesses for their last academic year. This program is designed to lead to employment opportunities for participants and each school strives for a 60 to 100 percent employment rate.

Pathways to Potential: This program, which has expanded to 219 schools in 22 counties, puts success coaches in schools to work with principals, teachers and social workers to remove barriers to children attending school. These success coaches also partner with other organizations to provide easier access to needed assistance.

Housing Assistance: Providing 250 housing units in the communities with the most need and is on track to provide a total of 500 units in three years.

Smart 911 Rollout: Smart 911, which allows callers to provide dispatchers with more information about their situation, has been deployed in 14 counties and one city. This allows police to better-tailor their response to developing situations or specific households.

Veteran Community Action Teams: Expanding the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency pilot program to bring together different agencies and services to provide support to veterans such as housing, social services and behavioral health.

Community Ventures, a program designed to connect structurally unemployed people with jobs, is now receiving direct referrals from Michigan Rehab Services in Detroit Pontiac, Flint, and Saginaw. The office is also partnering with The Disability Network in Flint to provide success coaching as well as job placements.

MDHHS will continue working to implement the commission’s recommendations in 2015 and 2016.

“As a state, Michigan has taken important steps to reduce stigma and improve resources for residents with behavioral health needs,” said Nick Lyon, director of the MDHHS. “We will continue to address the recommendations of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission to remove barriers to success and support all residents on their paths to overall health and wellness.” 

For additional information on efforts, visit Michigan.gov/mentalhealth.