Subscribe here for quarterly updates about millage projects.
Washtenaw County aims for systems-level criminal justice reform with a new pilot programLaw Enforcement Assisted Diversion and Deflection (LEADD) is "designed for people who commit lower level offenses and have historically cycled through our criminal justice system," says Hailey Richards, LEADD program coordinator... Read more.
CLR Academy–a sports-focused, leadership program for K-8 youth–expands with millage funding“We wanted to bring outdoor sports programming to neighborhoods that are predominantly black and brown, reaching young people early,” says Jamall Bufford, director of Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper and member of CLR's leadership team... Read more.
Thanks to millage funding, new positions at WCCMH and partner agencies help meet community needsFrom reentry support staff to peer support specialist, Washtenaw County's Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation millage has funded community-based positions since 2019 that meet people where they are and get ahead of emerging community needs... Read more.
The national 988 Lifeline for mental health launched. What does that mean for Washtenaw?Launched in July 2022, the 988 Suicide and Crisis is a national behavioral health initiative, designed to provide a more appropriate pathway for mental health emergencies than 911. However, WCCMH staff suggest residents 734-544-3050 to reach local providers faster... Read more.
Washtenaw County explores the prospect of a youth assessment center“I feel like we're really close to a spot where the reasons you would have a kid in [juvenile] detention are infinitesimally small,” says Mike Langenright, program manager at Washtenaw County Children's Services... Read more.
With greater resources from millage, WCCMH becomes access point for substance use referralsOn the first day of 2022, Washtenaw County residents began to access substance use treatment support, 24/7, through the main Washtenaw County Community Mental Health (WCCMH) phone line... Read more.
Millage funding helps NAMI build relationships and trust in Washtenaw County communitiesWhile millage funding has expanded our county's mental health services, some residents are still unaware. NAMI's outreach work creates and strengthens community relationships and informs people about resources... Read more.
Mental Health First Aid trainers are teaching our community how to respond to those in need“It’s highly valuable information for anyone,” notes Celeste Gentile, a teacher consultant with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. “[but] especially for educators, parents, and those who support young people"... Read more.
A tsunami of need: the millage provides social workers to support youth in schoolsAs pandemic conditions change, the need for mental health services in schools continues to rise. There’s a lot of isolation, a lot of depression,” says Stacey Doyle, a Washtenaw Intermediate School District social worker... Read more.
Reentry redux: How millage funds help residents of the jail navigate community reentryThe reentry team is “passionate about building systems that help people find their place and break their cycles [of incarceration],” says Aaron Suganuma, reentry coordinator with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.... Read more.
Success from planning: how community conversations, collaboration shaped the millage’s initial yearsIt's been just over three years since funding began for the millage. We review how careful planning helped the millage magnify impact where it was most needed and the work that remains... Read more.
Millage funds help Ozone House youth with housing and supportive servicesThanks to a millage partnership, psychiatric services are now offered on-site at Ozone House. However, the millage-Ozone partnership goes well beyond psychiatry time... Read more.
Introducing LEADD: A new millage-supported program to divert individuals away from jail to mental health services“LEADD gives deputies on the streets a third option, which is to see if the person is interested and willing to be connected to some help,” says Alyson Robbins, diversion attorney with the county prosecutor's office.... Read more.
Millage partners with 5 Healthy Towns Foundation to tackle the mental health needs of western Washtenaw CountyLeaders from various health systems were hungry to serve the community in a more measurable, impactful way—focusing on "one big thing," which they quickly realized was mental health... Read more.
Millage funds an expansion of the mobile crisis team to partner with the Chelsea Police DepartmentA new collaboration between the Chelsea police department and the country-wide behavioral health crisis team ensures that trained behavioral health specialists are there to help individuals get the care they need... Read more.
With millage support, Student Advocacy Center helps local youth navigate their educationThanks to millage funding, two of Student Advocacy Center's key programs will help more Washtenaw County students maximize their academic experience and success... Read more.
Washtenaw's supportive housing initiatives, law enforcement reforms, and care expansion attract press attentionThroughout 2021, the Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage was featured in many community publications including Concentrate, The Sun Times, and even nationally in Politico... Read more.
The millage helps Corner Health Center serve youth psychiatry needsWhile 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.
Reforming how Washtenaw County responds to public safetyReforms 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.
Mini-grants support mental health needs in schoolsAs 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 youthSince 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 recoveryThere 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.
Not just a bed. Millage helps homeless get & stay healthyFor 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.
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.
County hospital visits decline as millage programs ramp upRecently, 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.
Millage fuels partnerships with community-based orgsSince 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.
Millage CARES team serves all residents, even the uninsuredMental 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.
Independent, reliable cash: Millage lets county pivot, adaptWhen 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.
The unexpected impact of a room and a phoneAcross 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.
WCCMH launches 24/7 crisis center with millage resourcesWashtenaw 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.
WCCMH launches Black Lives Matter Task ForceOn 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.
A Q&A with CARES team access supervisor Shannon EllisThe 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.
County jail expands use of Medication Assisted TreatmentNationally, 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.
First year of reentry services grant focuses on staff, housingIn 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'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.
Washtenaw ahead of the curve on police reformGeorge 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.
Millage-funded "prayer and care" summitDarlene Wetzel, Community Programs Coordinator for NAMI WC... Read more.
Millage funds Mental Health First Aid train the trainer
COVID-driven telehealth expansion ensures access
Millage helps mitigate the impact of COVID-19
New website features millage background, accomplishments
Community mental health releases 2019 annual reportOur 2019 millage impact report features 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.
WCCMH and local agencies offer new services during pandemicWashtenaw 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.
WCCMH staff join Washtenaw's Crisis Negotiation TeamLast 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.
Millage Q&A: Community Corrections Manager Renee WilsonThe 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.
Washtenaw County prepares to launch LEADThis 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.
$1 million grant to reduce recidivism among MHSUDWashtenaw 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.
More SURE Moms, thanks to Washtenaw County votersWith 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.
New partnership with Corner Health serves Ypsi teens, young adultsFounded 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.
Four local agencies receive supportive housing contractsFour 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.
Coming soon: Washtenaw County crisis centerIn 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 LaBarreIn 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.
WISD receives funds for youth mental health programmingA 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 launchThe #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.
Washtenaw to participate in national LEAD training instituteWashtenaw 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 grantsThis 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.
NAMI Washtenaw receives millage contract for outreachA 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.
High schools invited to apply for anti-stigma campaign grantsThis 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.
Help design an anti-stigma campaign for Washtenaw youthIn 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.
Add this number to your phoneThanks 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.
Millage-funded therapeutic groups formingThanks 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 expansionAs 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 and deficit reduction updateDue 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.
100-day challenge SUD systems transformationSince 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.
Introducing the millage advisory committeeIn 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.
Millage-funded staff work to meet countywide demandA 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.
Training trainers in mental health first aidWhile 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.
Inform county-wide anti-stigma campaign for Washtenaw youthWashtenaw 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 systemAbout 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.
Planning juvenile justice diversion activitiesResearch 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.
Announcing millage-funded countywide service expansionOn 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 futureWashtenaw 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 investmentsAt 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.