In October 2018, West Michigan Community Mental Health was awarded a $4-million federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). The local CMH was one of only four agencies in Michigan to receive the grant, which expands mental health and substance use disorder services to residents in Mason, Lake and Oceana Counties. Since that time, several additional sites in Michigan have been awarded expansion grants.

Originally, CMH primarily served patients with Medicaid or who were indigent with more severe mental illness and developmental disabilities. Services were later expanded to provide outpatient substance use disorder treatment and care for mild-to-moderate mental illness. We still pride ourselves on being the public provider of behavioral health services, but the CCBHC designation allows us to increase access to anyone in need of care. This includes those with private insurance, self-pay consumers, no insurance, Medicaid, and those who are active duty or former active duty military or veterans.

During the first year of being a CCBHC, West Michigan CMH served nearly 200 additional patients in the three-county area who were suffering from serious mental illness, mild or moderate mental illness, substance use disorders and physical health concerns.

Among the expanded services include crisis stabilization services that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anyone in the community. When someone experiences a mental health emergency, is in emotional distress or is having suicidal thoughts, they can call our 24-hour crisis stabilization hotline at 1-800-992-2061. A caring, trained professional will provide phone triage. If needed, the crisis stabilization team, consisting of a master’s level clinician and a bachelor’s level provider, will respond directly to the individual’s home to provide direct care. Access to a psychiatrist by telephone is also provided. The goal of this service is to help stabilize people in the most clinically appropriate, least restrictive and most cost-effective setting.

Expanded psychiatric care and case management is also available to any individuals suffering from mild-to-moderate mental illness. For those suffering from symptoms such as depression or anxiety, they may access these services along with standard psychotherapy.

For those suffering from substance use disorders, West Michigan CMH offers medication assisted treatment programs for opiate and alcohol addiction. This form of treatment uses medicine to supplement counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a whole-person approach to treat substance use disorders, which increases the likelihood of long-term recovery.

The CCBHC designation has also provided increased services for our local military members and veterans. Our Veteran Navigator provides peer mentoring, emotional support and connection to medical, mental health and substance use programs. We also assist with housing, employment, transportation, food resources and obtaining military documentation. This free service is available to any military member, veteran or their family in Mason, Lake and Oceana counties. For veterans, the service is provided regardless of discharge type or the era served.

One of the primary goals of being a CCBHC is integrating physical and mental health services. We are able to do this by providing physical health screenings and assessments while also offering weight loss and smoking cessation programs. These programs are available not only to our current patients, but also to anyone in the community who may be trying to lose weight or stop smoking.

As a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, West Michigan CMH provides a full array of comprehensive services to anyone in the community that emphasizes recovery, wellness, trauma-informed care and physical-behavioral health integration. For a full list of services, or to learn how we can help you on your path to recovery and wellness, visit wmcmhs.org or call 1-800-992-2061.

During your assessment, if it’s determined that CMH is not the most appropriate place for you to receive care, we will coordinate with other providers in the region to ensure you get the care you need.

Alan Neushwander is the communications and public relations manager at West Michigan Community Mental Health. He can be reached at (231) 843-5440 or email alann@wmcmhs.org.