Millage news

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Corner Health

The millage helps Corner Health Center serve youth psychiatry needs

While the Corner could refer clients, numerous barriers might prevent them actually receiving psychiatric care—long waitlists, eligibility requirements, costs, transportation concerns—not to mention, being comfortable enough to seek care... Read more.
Cortes Clayton

Reforming how Washtenaw County responds to public safety

Reforms allow agencies to "work better together, so we can respond more effectively to individuals living with behavioral health conditions not only in the jail, but also in the community, says Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton... Read more.
Clague Library

Mini-grants support mental health needs in schools

As the 2020 school year wrapped up, students at Clague Middle School on Ann Arbor's northeast side were checking out books from a new mental health library made possible by mini-grant funding from the millage... Read more.

Cross-sector partnerships support justice-involved youth

Since the millage passed and more cross-sector partnerships were funded, Gina VanDuinen, mental health professional, notes an "increased transparency and communication" between the many organizations that are serving justice-involved youth... Read more.

Peer support specialists helping the journey to recovery 

There aren't too many job applications where checking the box for a criminal history or a mental illness or a history of addiction would give you an edge. But for peer support specialists, it's a decided advantage... Read more.
A care manager hands keys to someone in need

Not just a bed. Millage helps homeless get & stay healthy

For Avalon Housing, the millage has funded support services at Hickory Way, a residential community that offers easy access to transportation and amenities for those who have experienced chronic homelessness. Each apartment at Hickory Way is meant to be a “forever home” for any resident who wants one, says Scott Maurmann... Read more.
WC resident says "help isn't just for a crisis"

Breaking the stigma: Millage empowers youth to reach out

"I wish parents knew that mental health is real,” says one #wishyouknew social media post beside a portrait of a local teen. Another says, "Don't talk at me or down to me, talk WITH me.”The Wish You Knew campaign, funded by Washtenaw County’s Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, is designed to combat stigma...Read more.

Empty hospital admission room

County hospital visits decline as millage programs ramp up

Recently, Dr. Victor Hong, Medical Director of Psychiatry Emergency Services (PES) at Michigan Medicine, contacted the CARES team when he was notified that an individual in the community showed signs of being suicidal. “Traditionally in a situation like this, either it may have been handled poorly or the person may have ended up in the emergency department,” says Dr. Hong. Read more.
Agencies partner to help WC residents

Millage fuels partnerships with community-based orgs

Since the implementation of Washtenaw County’s voter-approved Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage in January of 2019, meaningful partnerships have flourished across the county. These partnerships expand access to mental health and substance use treatment services, decrease stigma around mental illness, and allow the county to.... Read more.
Caregiver comforts patient

Millage CARES team serves all residents, even the uninsured

Mental health care access for everybody–no matter what their insurance status is. This was an ambitious goal of Washtenaw County’s Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, which residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of–ensuring that everyone in our community has access to mental health care. Historically, eligibility has blocked access to services. Read more.
Downtown Ypsilanti

Independent, reliable cash: Millage lets county pivot, adapt

When JFK signed the Community Mental Health Act in 1963, community-based mental health and substance use treatment options began to spring up across the U.S. These new programs allowed people with significant mental illnesses and developmental disabilities to be released from the hospitals and institutions where they’d been housed...  Read more. 

A motel room at night. The bed, phone, and light are visible.

The unexpected impact of a room and a phone

Across the U.S. nearly 1.4 million people rely on homeless shelters and transitional housing programs each year. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Washtenaw County organizations came together to keep their homeless residents safe. Washtenaw County did the same, and the county did it well. Many agencies and organizations came together to... Read more.
Small house with hands shielding the roof and occupants.

WCCMH launches 24/7 crisis center with millage resources

Washtenaw County residents have long asked for a 24/7 crisis center—a place where individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis can go for help and emotional support. Thanks to the Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, this vision has become a reality. 750 Towner officially opened its doors in June of 2020—just steps away from the main... Read more.
A fist, raised in solidarity, with the words "Black Lives Matter" in the background.

WCCMH launches Black Lives Matter Task Force

On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd’s death at the hands of police led hundreds of thousands of people throughout the nation to join the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. While the BLM movement is broad, it essentially seeks to eradicate systemic racism through education, dialogue, solidarity, and fundamental reforms. At Washtenaw County... Read more.
Social worker Shannon Ellis smiles at the camera from her desk in Ypsilanti.

A Q&A with CARES team access supervisor Shannon Ellis

The CARES team is a group of mental health professionals funded by Washtenaw County's voter-approved Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage on May 1, 2019 when services were expanded to all residents, regardless of insurance status or severity of need. The goal of the CARES team is to provide short-term stabilization... Read more.
Black mail doctor reaching across the table to comfort a patient.

County jail expands use of Medication Assisted Treatment

Nationally, about 80 percent of people in jail abuse alcohol or drugs. About half are considered clinically addicted. Oftentimes, substance use plays a direct or indirect role in a person’s jail time–which is why access to treatment is so important for both helping an individual recover, as well as reducing their risk for committing a crime. Medication-assisted treatment... Read more.
Older gentleman looks out the window of a small house, cut from cardboard.

First year of reentry services grant focuses on staff, housing

In 2019, Washtenaw County received a $1 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Administration. The purpose: To address high recidivism rates--the rates of individuals returning to jail after release--among those with mental health and substance use disorders. The grant, made possible by matching dollars provided by Washtenaw County’s... Read more.
Garrett Halpert smiling on a trip to Washington, DC.

Garrett's Space delivers 20,000 mental health flyers

As suicide rates continue to rise throughout the nation, especially among young people, one local Washtenaw County family is working to help those in need access services. Suicide rates increased 33 percent nationally from 1999 to 2017, with the sharpest increase since 2006. Young adults and teenagers are at the greatest risk--research in 2019 found rates among teens... Read more.

Image of a woman with her arms up to the sky---above it reads "Listen, Learn, Change"

Washtenaw ahead of the curve on police reform

George Floyd’s death this spring, at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, sparked massive protests across the nation for meaningful police reforms to address police brutality toward Black individuals—which has been well-documented in recent years. Key calls-to-action during these protests have included “defunding” the police and implementing... Read more.
Looks like a stained glass window with people

Millage-funded "prayer and care" summit

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Washtenaw County (NAMI WC) has organized a virtual summit for members of the clergy to learn about mental health resources for faith communities. The Prayer and Care summit will be held on October 27th from 12:30 to 4:30 pm through Zoom. Darlene Wetzel, Community Programs Coordinator for NAMI WC... Read more. 
Scrabble board reads Mental Health First Aid

Millage funds Mental Health First Aid train the trainer

This summer, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health put out a call for volunteers. The purpose? To become certified as Mental Health First Aid instructors, who will then share what they’ve learned with others in the community. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a collection of skills to help a person who is either experiencing... Read more. 

Photo of doctor, holding a phone and waving at a telehealth client she sees on the screen

COVID-driven telehealth expansion ensures access

Washtenaw County’s community mental health agency has embraced telehealth throughout the pandemic to provide ongoing care to its clients. Prior to the pandemic, WCCMH used telehealth in less than one percent of cases. By June 2020, 44 percent of the community mental health providers surveyed were using telehealth to reach and engage... Read more. 

Illustration of diverse crowd wearing N95 masks to protect from covid

Millage helps mitigate the impact of COVID-19

From economic strains to a now six-month period of isolation, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend daily life. In Washtenaw County, “the unsurprising result,” as Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder reports for Concentrate, is “an uptick in stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative implications for the mental health of residents.” Trish Cortes, the executive director... Read more.

Image of computer screen that says "It's time for something new"

New website features millage background, accomplishments

Washtenaw County Community Mental Health is pleased to share a new website for information about the county’s eight-year Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, which will be in effect through 2026. The millage site features: the 24/7 hotline for accessing countywide mental health and substance use support services... Read more.

People standing in a row with arms over neighbor's shoulders

Community mental health releases 2019 annual report

Our 2019 millage impact reportfeatures initiatives made possible with the first year of millage funding. Millage-funded programs include a broad array of initiatives, but among the most important is access to mental health and substance use recovery services for all Washtenaw County residents who are having difficulty accessing private care, regardless of... Read more.
Illustration of diverse individuals with masks

WCCMH and local agencies offer new services during pandemic

Washtenaw County Community Mental Health is continuing to provide essential services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our 24/7 CARES line, expanded with funding from the Washtenaw County Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage in 2019, is fully staffed. All Washtenaw County residents are encouraged to call 734-544-3050. Our staff can... Read more.
Photo of two hands, one with stripes and one with polka dots, shaking.

WCCMH staff join Washtenaw's Crisis Negotiation Team

Last November, five mental health professionals from Washtenaw County’s Community Mental Health were tapped by the Sheriff’s Office to join Washtenaw County’s Crisis Negotiation Team. During the first week of December, the CMH staff attended a one-week FBI crisis negotiation course in Troy, Mich. to learn negotiation tactics for... Read more.
Photo of Washtenaw County Community Corrections Manager Renee Wilson.

Millage Q&A: Community Corrections Manager Renee Wilson

The Washtenaw County Community Corrections Department, part of the sheriff’s office, provides jail diversion options and assistance for people at all stages of the criminal justice process--from initial detention and court hearings to time spent in jail and community reentry. We spoke with Renee Wilson, manager of Community Corrections, to learn .. Read more.
Rainbow colored arrows moving off in different directions.

Washtenaw County prepares to launch LEAD

This January, Washtenaw County and the City of Detroit were among 15 jurisdictions hand picked from regions across the country to participate in the inaugural LEAD National Learning Conference hosted by the U.S. Public Defender Association and the LEAD National Support Bureau in Seattle, WA. Seventy-five leaders attended the three-day... Read more.
Two binders. One says grants and the other says applications.

$1 million grant to reduce recidivism among MHSUD 

Washtenaw County has received a $1 million, four-year grant from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Administration to address high recidivism rates among individuals with mental health and substance use disorders to build on collaborative work between the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office and the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health agency.... Read more. 
Photo of Washtenaw SURE Moms Coordinator Florence Roberson

More SURE Moms, thanks to Washtenaw County voters

With a $90,000 investment from Washtenaw County’s Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, the SURE Moms program—designed to unite, support, and empower mothers of justice-involved youth—is being extended to more moms across the county. Under the stewardship of SURE Mom Coordinator Florence Roberson.... Read more.
Photo of four teens smiling in front of the Corner Health Center sign.

New partnership with Corner Health serves Ypsi teens, young adults

Founded 39 years ago by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to address health disparities among teenage moms, the Corner Health Center in downtown Ypsilanti has grown into a tremendous local resource: a full-service integrated health clinic that addresses the physical, mental, behavioral, and social needs of local teenagers, young.... Read more.
Image of a wooden block shaped like a house with a heart leaning against it.

Four local agencies receive supportive housing contracts

Four local agencies have been awarded millage contracts to enhance supportive housing for youth and adults with mental health and substance use concerns. “One of the key recommendations made by Washtenaw County’s Community Mental Health Advisory Committee was to invest millage revenue in supportive housing,” says Trish Cortes.... Read more.
Photo of crisis center peer support specialist Jackie Campbell

Coming soon: Washtenaw County crisis center

In an unassuming brick building just down the street from the Washtenaw County Health Department in Ypsilanti a new community resource is in the final stages of development. It’s an observation and assessment center for individuals in crisis--one that community advocates have been wanting for years--and it will open for business at 750 Towner.... Read more.

Millage Q&A: Washtenaw County Commissioner Andy LaBarre

In 2017, Washtenaw County Commissioner Andy LaBarre was instrumental in the development and passage of the county’s Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, which currently provides about $16 million per year. Thirty-eight percent of the millage revenue is allocated to the Washtenaw County Community.... Read more.
Hands with flowers, fingers making a heart

WISD receives funds for youth mental health programming

A two-year Public Safety and Mental Health Millage grant of $107,000 has been awarded to the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) for mental health and anti-stigma activities. In year one, WISD will use roughly half of these resources to provide mini-grants to 17 area high schools that have signed on to develop youth-led mental.... Read more.

#wishyouknew youth mental health campaign launch

The #wishyouknew youth mental health campaign officially kicked off on Monday, November 25, with artwork by local artist Lauren Mills, quotes from outreach with hundreds of Washtenaw County youth and adults, and a short video featuring Alisha Spencer, a local mother and community leader who shares insights about how just listening helps.... Read more.
Illustration of applause

Washtenaw to participate in national LEAD training institute

Washtenaw County and Detroit are the first Michigan jurisdictions to be chosen to participate in the national Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) training institute in Seattle, WA. Five Washtenaw County diversion leaders--from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Community Mental Health agency, and Public Defender’s Office.... Read more.

County organizations invited to apply for supportive housing grants

This spring, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health asked the Washtenaw Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) to develop a request for proposals process designed to increase supportive housing services across Washtenaw County. We are pleased to announce that the resulting RFP was approved by.... Read more.
Hands reaching toward each other

NAMI Washtenaw receives millage contract for outreach

A Public Safety and Mental Health Millage Contract of $158,000 has been awarded to NAMI Washtenaw County (NAMI WC) to design and implement a mental health education and outreach program for youth and families in the under-served communities of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, and Whitmore Lake. The National Alliance on.... Read more.
Sign of an illuminated number five

Five facts about the impact of Washtenaw's mental health millage

WCCMH is now serving 297 residents of Ypsi (50 percent), Ann Arbor (35 percent), and other, largely rural, communities. While many were covered by Medicaid (22 percent) or the Medicaid expansion program (32 percent), none would have met WCCMH's traditional service criteria. Twenty-six percent. were uninsured and received services.... Read more.
Apply now illustration

High schools invited to apply for anti-stigma campaign grants

This August, the Millage Advisory Committee approved a funding application from the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) to support anti-stigma campaign activities at all interested Washtenaw County high schools. The campaigns will focus on positivity and strength as a mechanism for a culture shift in schools. They will be planned and.... Read more.
Lightbulb design concept

Help design an anti-stigma campaign for Washtenaw youth

In our last millage communication, WCCMH introduced readers to planned anti-stigma campaign efforts that are being led, through a millage-funded contract, by the Washtenaw County Health Department. The first two years of. this anti-stigma work will focus on reaching and engaging Washtenaw County youth and and their families... Read more.
Illustration of a hand holding a phone with the number 734-544-3050 on it

Add this number to your phone

Thanks to the Washtenaw County Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, all Washtenaw County residents can get help 24/7 for depression, anxiety, addiction, and more. And receiving aid is as easy as calling 734-544-3050. As Erin Spanier reports in "Add this number to your phone," an article in Connected, the 5 Healthy Towns.... Read more. 
Rainbow colored chairs in a circle

Millage-funded therapeutic groups forming

Thanks to millage funding, our CARES team staff members are offering four new group therapy options for Washtenaw County residents. These groups are for everyone in the community--regardless of insurance or severity of need. Additional groups will be added in the months ahead. Seeking Safety Group: Mondays, 3:30 - 5:00 pm... Read more.

Millage funds rural service delivery expansion 

As of July 1, the CARES team had received 250 outpatient service referrals from Ypsilanti (115), Ann Arbor (88), Saline (11), Dexter (6), Whitmore Lake (5), Chelsea (3), and Milan (3).While most of the referrals are currently coming from the county’s urban areas, there continues to be unmet need in the county’s rural communities, where residents may.... Read more.
Underfunding dictionary definition

Underfunding and deficit reduction update

Due to underfunding by the state and federal government of Michigan’s community mental health system—behavioral health services for low-income individuals and those with severe and persistent mental illnesses, emotional disturbances, and developmental disabilities—the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has asked Washtenaw.... Read more.
Transform concept picture

100-day challenge SUD systems transformation

Since November 2018, dozens of representatives from Washtenaw-area organizations--including one-dozen staff members from Washtenaw County Community Mental Health--have been participating in a substance use disorder system transformation process hosted by the Washtenaw Health Initiative. The goal? To dramatically improve.... Read more. 
Advisory committee concept photo

Introducing the millage advisory committee

In the spring of 2019, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health established a Millage Advisory Committee (MAC) to provide strategic oversight on Washtenaw County’s Public Safety and Mental Health Millage activities and investments. The 13-member committee, chaired by St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea President and CEO Nancy Graebner.... Read more.
Nurse holding heart in hands

Millage-funded staff work to meet countywide demand

A countywide mental health and substance use disorder service expansion--particularly for historically underserved populations across Washtenaw--has been a key priority for millage investments from the start. As such, when millage funds first became available on January 1, 2019, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health (WCCMH).... Read more.
First aid kit

Training trainers in mental health first aid

While many of us know how to administer first aid for health conditions, few of us are trained to provide similar help for those experiencing a mental health or substance use related crisis. To build community capacity, WCCMH regularly offers Mental Health First Aid training sessions for individuals with no prior experience in mental health and substance.... Read more.
millage progress q3

Inform county-wide anti-stigma campaign for Washtenaw youth

Washtenaw County Community Mental Health is working with the Washtenaw County Health Department to develop and launch a county-wide campaign to reduce stigma around mental health and addiction. Health department staff will begin their work with a campaign targeted toward our county’s youth. The campaign will evolve and target.... Read more. 

Transforming Washtenaw's substance use disorder system

About a dozen Washtenaw County Community Mental Health staff members have been actively participating in a series of local meetings, sponsored by the Washtenaw Health Initiative, that are designed to develop a collaborative action plan to address substance use in our county. At these meetings, our staff are working with others to identify.... Read more. 
Diversion concept illustration

Planning juvenile justice diversion activities

Research from the National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice (NCYOJ) shows that behavioral health and trauma conditions are consistently higher among youth in the juvenile justice system when compared with the general adolescent population. Washtenaw County Community Mental Health and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s..... Read more.
shutterstock_1717438750 (1)

Announcing millage-funded countywide service expansion

On May 1, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health (WCCMH) will extend services and service-navigation assistance to all county residents who are unable to secure community-based mental health and substance use services, regardless of their insurance type, location, or ability to pay for services. In the interim, WCCMH is accepting referrals..... Read more.

Public safety accomplishments and plans for the future

Washtenaw County Community Mental Health works closely with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office to improve services for residents with mental health and substance use disorders who come into contact with law enforcement and the corrections system. Their collaborative efforts, which have taken place over the past few years.... Read more. 

Plans for initial millage investments

At their October 3 meeting, Washtenaw County Commissioners approved 11 recommendations from the Community Mental Health Advisory Council (CMHAC) regarding early priorities for the county’s mental health millage investments. Washtenaw County Community Mental Health is pleased to share with you the first in a series of.... Read more.