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For Immediate Release
Contact: Erin Spanier at 734-998-8514 or [email protected]
Report details 2019 accomplishments
Ypsilanti, Mich., Nov 9, 2020 - Washtenaw County Community Mental Health is pleased to share a new report of accomplishments made possible by the county’s Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage.
The eight-year millage was approved by county voters in November 2017. The first full year of implementation ended in 2019 and includes significant, countywide service expansions; new law enforcement training programs; community education and anti-stigma campaign activities; and new partnerships to enhance services for teens and young adults, mothers with a history of trauma, and others.
View the 2019 Millage Impact Report at www.washtenaw.org/millage.
“In this first year of the millage our efforts have been centered mostly on combating stigma and expanding access to services through the millage-funded CARES team and partnerships with multiple community organizations,” says Trish Cortes, Director of Washtenaw County Community Mental Health.
“24/7 support and resource navigation is now available to everyone in our community and is an important starting place for any mental health need or question. Given the current COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative that we continue to build on these efforts and be sure that all Washtenaw County residents are aware that everyone is eligible for services by calling 544-3050.”
Service expansion impact
Since May 2019, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health has extended services and service-navigation assistance to all county residents. To request assistance--regardless of insurance type, location, or ability to pay--residents can call the county’s 24/7 support line at 734-544-3050.
Between May 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020, an additional 517 Washtenaw County residents received services from Washtenaw County Community Mental Health as a result of millage funding. On average, they received 24 services per person, including service navigation assistance, individual and group therapy, psychiatric counseling, peer support, and more. The median time spent with each client was four hours.
More than 13 percent of the clients served in the first year were homeless and were connected to housing resources, food pantries, and a range of health and social service agencies to meet their most pressing health and human service needs.
Thirty-five percent of the clients served were uninsured. And while 23 percent were covered by Medicaid and 33 percent were covered by Michigan’s Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion program, the Healthy Michigan Plan, none of these individuals would have met Washtenaw County Community Mental Health service criteria without millage financial support.
Washtenaw County Community Mental Health was also able to launch rural service delivery in Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, and Whitmore Lake in close collaboration with local partners. More than 15 percent of the residents served during this time period were from the county’s traditionally underserved rural communities.
Crisis response with law enforcement
In 2019, and as a result of millage funding, Washtenaw County’s community mental health professionals joined the county’s Crisis Negotiation Team, which includes 17 individuals from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Ann Arbor Police Department, University of Michigan Department of Public Safety, and Eastern Michigan University Police Department who all have advanced training in negotiating crisis situations.
On this team, millage-funded mental health professionals provide guidance and assess risk for violence or suicide. They also help monitor stress levels during the incident and support team members with after-incident debriefings.
Other 2019 highlights include millage-funded grants and services to:
Leveraging millage funding
Additionally, Washtenaw County’s mental health agency has been able to leverage the voluntary millage support approved by Washtenaw County voters to attract outside funding that will further improve services.
In 2019, for example, Washtenaw County was the first Michigan county selected to participate in the national Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) training institute. LEAD’s evidence-based model helps communities respond to low-level offenses that stem from unaddressed public health and human service needs--addiction, untreated mental illness, and extreme poverty--through a public health framework, reducing reliance on the formal criminal justice system.
Furthermore, in 2019 Washtenaw County Community Mental Health became a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), bringing in additional federal grant dollars to supplement program expansions and more effectively use millage dollars.
Washtenaw is one of a small number of Michigan counties that has elected to provide added revenue for mental health support and criminal justice diversion activities through a voluntary millage tax. The impact is already significant. Washtenaw County Mental Health, its community partners, and the Millage Advisory Committee are grateful to the community for this investment.