New specialty treats mental health with first aid

By JOSHUA BENDER
Capital News Service
LANSING — The number of individuals trained in mental health first aid that help people detect early warning signs of mental illness is growing in Michigan, according to the  Department of Health and Human Services. More than 25,000 Michiganders are trained in mental health first aid, most of them taught as a result of state grants, according to Jennifer Eisner, public information officer for the department. A state grant for nearly $2 million was divided between two  mental health services providers, according to Beverly Ryskamp, supervisor at one of the grant’s recipients, Grand Rapids’ Network 180. “It’s (Mental Health First Aid) to reduce the stigma and to help people be somewhat like a first responder,” said Wendy Ludwig, a mental health first aid trainer and St. Joseph Community Health therapist.

Study: mental illness associated with solitary confinement

By JOSHUA BENDER
Capital News Service
LANSING — Many Michigan prisoners suffering from serious mental illnesses or developmental disabilities spend their days in isolated 23-hour lockdown. That might be harmful to their mental health, according to a recent national study published in the American Journal of Public Health. It found that prisoners spending time in what is also called segregated housing are nearly seven times more likely to harm themselves. Some  Department of Corrections officials say they don’t believe that’s the case inside Michigan’s prisons. A daily average of 35 seriously mentally ill or developmentally disabled inmates spent time in solitary confinement for 2013-14, Michigan prison officials said.

More funding ahead for jail mental health projects

By STEPHANIE HERNANDEZ McGAVIN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Health and law enforcement professionals are increasingly recognizing the importance of innovative mental health jail diversion programs, working to implement them in their own counties with state and locally funds. The Department of Health and Human Services will fund expansion of jail diversion efforts in January 2016 through Gov. Rick Snyder’s Mental Health Diversion Council. The program will award about $1.2 million in total to two new agency projects and current pilot projects. Steven Mays, the diversion administrator at the department said, said this year’s program will be a little different from previous years’. To give agencies enough support and time to establish their programs, the council will continue to fund existing projects instead of a large number of new ones, Mays said.

Clinton County bucks up to keep mental health services at the County Jail

By Katie Winkler
Clinton County Chatter staff reporter

Due to a change in general fund dollars from the State of Michigan, the Clinton County Jail has asked the county for $63,326 to continue mental health services. Since the County bucked up, services will continue. “We have less funding, which means the county has to take on that burden of supplying a mental health worker because our jail can not operate without one,” Clinton County Jail Capt. Monica Hoskins said. Within the last year, Community Mental Health Authority for Clinton, Eaton and Ingham County (CMH), along with other providers across Michigan, were notified that there would be a sufficient decrease in the amount of general funds that would be available to help their communities, including inmates at the Clinton County Jail. The push for Healthy Michigan and Medicaid was presented as a way of dealing with the loss of these funds.

ADHD contributes to higher ed learning problems

By MICHAEL KRANSZ
Capital News Service
LANSING — Nearly 12.8 percent of all Michigan residents ages 4 to 17 are diagnosed with ADHD, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics. ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, is marked by inattention, lack of focus and sometimes hyperactivity, and that can present problems for young learners as they move into higher education, said Adelle Cadieux, a pediatric psychologist at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. That population of ADHD youths has increased by 39 percent since 2003, according to the latest CDC figures. As with other disorders such as autism, growing awareness and identification of ADHD has contributed to the increase of diagnoses, Cadieux said. But, Cadieux said, there are always some practitioners and psychologists who over-diagnose.

Rural areas lack mental health professionals

By ZHAO PENG
Capital News Service
LANSING — Amid a national shortage of psychiatrists, and Michigan is among the states that lack enough mental health professionals and facilities, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “There is a shortage of service providers, psychiatrists and physicians that are able to work with people that have mental illness and prescribe medications,” said Kathleen Gross, executive director of the Michigan Psychiatric Society. “There is shortage of funding in the state for community mental health centers to provide a great deal of service to the citizens.”
The U.P. and Northeast Michigan face the most serious shortages, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Among 15 U.P. counties, 13 are designated as shortage areas. Ten of the 11 Northeast Michigan counties have the same designation.

Mental health in teens at Grand Ledge High School

By Ariel Rogers
Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE — Grand Ledge High School has a student population nearing 1,800 ninth through 12th graders. Students are often overwhelmed with the stress of becoming an adult and planning the future. Kathy Coscarelli is a licensed counselor in the Grand Ledge area. She receives referrals from GLHS for further counseling options for the students. “Kids are so stressed about the future,” Coscarelli said.