Mental health has been in the news lately, especially in Detroit, where Police Chief James Craig has decried the volume of his department’s mental illness cases and the city has formed a Mental Health Task Force.
We have an epidemic of people with mental illness imprisoned. Our publicly funded mental health system, run through governmental Community Mental Health (CMH) programs the past several decades, has too much bureaucracy, lacks statewide uniformity, is weak on rights protection, has meager hospital resources, and is not well monitored by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The system is underfunded and overburdened. To provide one local example, Wayne County has just one walk-in crisis program – the COPE facility in Livonia, managed by Hegira Inc. – and that program often deals with a volume of clients far too great for its resources.
The mental health advocacy community desperately wants improvements and is open to major changes, however, we aren’t going to fall for something that won’t work and will only make matters worse.
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