East Lansing heals in wake of tragedy

By Chloe Kiple

Entirely East Lansing

EAST LANSING– East Lansing High School administrators are taking decisive action on mental and emotional health in the wake of the two students who recently died by suicide. The high school consulted Michigan State Counseling Services about how to move forward. Additionally, the high school recruited Ele’s Place, a non-profit that offers emotional support to grieving children and families, to offer six weeks of counseling and intervention to students. Ele’s Place and Michigan State Counseling Services both declined to comment. Principal Coby Fletcher outlined his intentions moving forward in a letter to parents Feb.

Inmates not always treated for addiction, mental illness

Capital News Service
LANSING — Unpredictable behavior, irrationality, confusion, loss of control: all are symptoms of mental illness and signs of drug abuse. Although the two can be similar, problems of addiction and mental health have long been dealt with separately in county jails, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Terrence Jungel said. Mentally ill inmates with drug addictions seeking help for their illnesses often are turned away from treatment because of their substance abuse problem and vice versa, Jungel said. When substance abuse counselors turn away drug addicts because of their mental illnesses or mentally ill patients are turned away because they have substance abuse problems, Jungel said the system is working against itself. “You’ve got two people pointing fingers at each other,” he said.

Mental heath courts could expand

Capital News Service
LANSING – Officials are looking to expand a pilot program that has kept hundreds of mentally ill defendants from going to prison. In his address on public safety, Gov. Rick Snyder proposed $2.1 million in new funding for mental health courts, a pilot program operating since 2008 that allows defendants to avoid jail time by completing court-monitored treatment. Snyder also proposed starting a new mental health court in Saginaw County, bringing the total number to nine. The program is currently funded by $1.6 million in federal stimulus money, which will no longer be available by the end of the year. “Mental health courts are the best resource available to provide treatment to mentally ill individuals who break the law,” Snyder said.

Agencies call for parity in mental health insurance coverage

Capital News Service
LANSING – Mental health advocates want the state to revise the proposed autism-treatment law to require health insurance to cover mental illness. They endorse the legislation to mandate that private insurance providers cover autism related-disorders, but say mental health disorders need equal coverage. Michael Brashears, executive director of Community Mental Health in Ottawa County, said the biggest problem in his county is not just autism, but also other moderate mental conditions. “Autism is not more severe than other disorders. We see more cases of moderate forms of developmental disabilities such as conduct disorder, depressive disorders and anxiety that affect both children and adults in our areas,” he said.