Lansing Housing Commission to fill mental health void

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On March 30, the Lansing City Council held a Committee of the Whole meeting where Dr. Joan Jackson Johnson, director of human relations and community services at the Lansing at City Hall, discussed the lack of mental health resources for the Lansing Housing Commission (LHC).

Federal dollars have continuously been cut. As a result, the LHC does not have the funds to help individuals who have mental health challenges, Johnson said.

Cindi Borgman, housing and residential supervisor at Community Mental Health, said this is a result of the state having a general fund deficit for the last few years.

“We (the state) had to eliminate services,” Borgman said. “It’d be nice to (restitute) those funds, so we could return to providing services for those folks.”

In case somebody has a crisis, Borgman said it would be helpful to fund for therapists or case managers on properties to assist in the moment.

Two years ago, a significant shift occurred affecting the support of chronic individuals provided by the Community Mental Health, Johnson said. The support level of long-term mental health could not be offered anymore.

To fill that void, Johnson said there needs to be a program to provide medication for those with chronic mental health who will not receive the services they need. A grant was written, but was not received. She said there needs to be an exploration of mental health resources to offer the city.

“Overall, healthcare is a challenge in our community,” Johnson said.

Mary Reynolds, Lansing resident, said mental health has developed over the years and there is never enough done for the lower and middle income of Lansing.

“As the mental health changes, you can’t do what you did in ’52. You can’t do that in 2000 and you can’t do that in 2020, or even 18,” she said “You can’t take old times and do them with the children today. She (Johnson) knows there’s a lot more to be done.”

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