CMU focuses on mental health in mid-Michigan


I actually started this journey about 30 years
ago. My brother John had taken his life. He was age 20. So at that time I
promised myself and family that this would be my journey. To find purpose for my pain meaning we wanted
to make sure that as many people as possible kind of had some support and understand what
they could do as a family and or a friend to help prevent other people from going through
what our family did. Pretty much all my life I’ve been involved
in community health work. So I find myself now at this moment in time
working in a state and in a region that really really is calling upon every single one of
us to to become involved. For me, I think being a psychiatrist and working
in the mental health field is really an honor and looking deeper into our emotional states
and our behavioral states is really difficult and not always apparent. The reason I went into research and
was studying mental health interventions for k-12 schools is
because as an assistant principal I really wanted to be able to help and support our
students but there weren’t necessarily a lot of interventions that we could immediately
put in place to help those students. And that’s where we want to come in and be
able to help and support and increase the information
available to students so they know where to get help, be able to increase access so students
can get help and then make sure that they’re getting quality care that
they need. Like many of the complex problems it takes
a village. So a physician on their own cannot do it. I mean you need social workers and psychologists. You need law enforcement. You need different philanthropic arms. You need community leaders, grassroot efforts. So one of the projects
we have is a mental health partnership that brings multi stakeholder in the region to
address one common issue most of us care about and passionate about. For years it was like we were sort of on an
island by ourselves and just to see this new generation of healthcare providers
and this university coming together to open up the idea of working
together, building some partnerships and making this really a healthier community all around. Really it’s mutual learning
and sharing when I’m in forums and meetings with the
community and how we might really figuring out how we might engage our work together. We have been able to
participate in initiatives in the region to help increase access, increase quality care
and develop innovative models for the future. It’s great to be able to wake up and know
every day that I go to work that I’m going to be helping people
whether that’s directly or indirectly. And personally, it’s extremely fulfilling
to know that I can be a part of the system to help, proactively address the mental health
crisis in the great lakes bay region. My hope, my vision, my dream is
that every single individual will have a circle of care around them. That they get the same treatment, the same
health care benefits to treat themselves mentally, emotionally as we do for anyone with physical
illness.

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