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.

Counties look to Medicaid to slow mental health costs

By CORTNEY ERNDT
Capital News Service
LANSING – Jail inmates’ mental health costs will continue to rise without an expansion of Medicaid, according to sheriff’s departments across the state. In 2012, the Allegan County Jail spent about $15,250, averaging about $1,270 per month to improve mental health, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department said. In March of this year, mental health services for inmates cost about $2,400, almost double the monthly average of 2012, the department said. Ann Russell, the corrections administrator at Oakland County Jail, said her sheriff’s office spends about $1.3 million annually on inmate mental health services, including the cost of medications. “The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office has been working for many years to assist in reducing the jail’s cost for mental health services,” Russell said.