The topic of mental health is receiving more attention than perhaps at any other point in history.
The pandemic has brought the issue to the forefront, and mental health providers have been given resources to help tackle the problem.
According to a press release, community mental health providers across the state and in Oakland County have been providing residents with comprehensive behavioral health care through Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics grant funding.
EasterSeals Michigan has been one of the beneficiaries of the grant funding.
In May of this year, EasterSeals was awarded a two-year grant for up to $2 million per year, which followed a previous grant from 2018.
According to Juliana Harper, who is the chief program officer for EasterSeals Michigan, the grant has a focus on “increasing access and integrated care to individuals, children and adults with serious mental illness.”
Increasing access can be a big part of getting people the help they need.
“When people need care, they need it immediately,” Harper said. “Otherwise, they’ll second-guess themselves out of calling. If you put too many barriers for them accessing, they’ll just put it off. … We’ve had referrals, but maybe they never got connected into treatment, and then you find out they were high risk, or maybe they were suicidal, and they never get connected. So, the whole point is to try to do rapid engagement, screen them in and start treatment pretty quickly.”
EasterSeals Michigan CEO Brent Wirth does not want the process of accessing help to be a difficult one.
“We’re screening people into care, not screening people out,” Wirth said. “We’re doing whatever it takes to get (them) the help they need.”
Harper discussed the primary ways EasterSeals Michigan, which she said serves 15,000 people annually, can provide help for community members.
“We are predominantly a behavioral health provider,” she said. “We provide outpatient and community-based programming, (from) infant mental health all the way to senior services.”
Patients can come to EasterSeals Michigan via referrals or initiating contact themselves.
“We got the word out and let people know in the community that we were here, our doors were open, we can serve anyone that has a need, and we can’t deny services based on their insurance, their ability to pay or where they live,” Harper said.