Suicide Prevention Groups Join to Spread Message


BESSEMER — The Gogebic County Mental Health Facility in Wakefield hosted the Range Suicide Prevention Council on Friday. The groups discussed the combining of the Gogebic-Ontonagon Suicide Prevention Council and RSPC into one community-wide organization, according to Pat Gallinagh, of the RSPC. Crystal Suzik, parent liaison, said combining groups is much less challenging than originally thought, not requiring name adoption or legal documentation because they are combining resources and agencies with an existing community group. “The goal is to eliminate the stigma associated with suicide and bring awareness to people,” Suzik said. She said the public is invited to be part of the council, while Gallinagh expressed Monday, “Better mental health and suicide prevention go hand in hand.” Gallinagh said joining the groups together will better help spread the weight among people and grow membership. The group discussed the “Do It For Daniel” film that was shown to local schools and the public Monday in Hurley. Missy Lane, from mental health, coordinated the planning required to bring the film here for local kids to view. According to Suzik, Gogebic County ranks seventh worst in the state for suicide, while Ontonagon County is first. The RSPC is hosting a “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” event May 24 in Wakefield. The council encourages support for the event to help break stigmas and discrimination associated with suicide and mental illness and to encourage schools to bring in students. Community members and groups are also encouraged to walk. Likewise, the September “Break the Silence and Walk Through the Pain” walk at Gogebic Community College is scheduled for Sept. 9. The RSPC discussed potential grant availability for the training the “Trainer for Mental Health First Aid: effort. The council is giving two classes in April to train kids at Bessemer and Hurley to be mental health first responders.

Do It For Daniel Film

Click here for event details

A free community event showing the Do It For Daniel Documentary is scheduled for Monday, March 13th at 6 p.m. at the Hurley High School Auditorium.

Do It For Daniel is a film that documents Daniel Olson’s story.  Daniel was an all-state quarterback for the Ishpeming (Michigan) football team, had a great family and had great friends, and just one month shy of turning 20, he lost his life-long battle that he fought with depression and anxiety.

The Olson’s family mission is to tell their family story, hoping to get rid of the stigma of mental illness so it is common for people who struggle and/or suffer with such to come forward and seek help.  The documentary was created to educate people about the impact depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses have on people and their families and to create a dialogue.  “We believe that through education, we can help stop the stigma.  People who suffer from these illnesses will feel less isolated and more willing to seek help.” said Jeff Olson, father of Daniel and the Head Coach of the Ishpeming Hematites football team.  This documentary tells the incredible story of Daniel and his family and how the community of Ishpeming through the Hematite football team rallied to restore hope for all who suffer from this medical illness called depression.

Statistics show that one in four adults suffer from mental illness, one in four youth ages 13 to 18 experience mental disorders, and an estimated 13% of youth ages 8 to 15 are also affected by mental illness and most will not ask for help because of the stigma associated with it.  Ninety percent of suicides are from people who suffer from mental illness.  “To decrease suicide we need to treat the source.  Anxiety and depression are the most common.  We want to try to define it, help others understand what it feels like to suffer from it, and most importantly give people HOPE.  It is a medical illness that can be treated.” said Olson.

The stigma of depression (or any type of mental illness) will only be broken down by education and getting people to talk openly about the fact that it is a medical disease.  According to Olson, “The goal is to spread the word and hopefully this documentary will touch many lives.  We want people to realize they are not alone.  Our wish is that this movie will also show the power of love, strength, and determination.  The Ishpeming community rallied behind a dark situation and banded together to overcome the odds and grew together off the field as much as they did on and if we all, as a team and greater community, believe and work hard enough, anything is possible!  We want everyone to understand, THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE.”

The Documentary, 75 minutes long, is narrated by Daniel’s sister, Jaime Olson, and produced by Kammi Young-Berens and Michael Berens of Otisville, Michigan.  There is no charge to attend this community event, however, donations would be greatly appreciated as thousands of dollars are still needed to go towards color and audio correction of the film, building the Do It For Daniel Foundation so the documentary can be presented to all schools, making copies of the DVD, and getting the film to film festivals to have it shown in large market areas.

The community event, facilitated by Jeff Olson, will also be shown to students in grades 9-12 from the Wakefield-Marenisco, Bessemer, Ironwood, and Hurley schools during the school day, prior to the community evening showing.  Mr. Olson has previously shown the Documentary in Ishpeming, Gwinn, Ontonagon, Engadine, Newberry, Menominee, and Calumet, and is also scheduled to show the Documentary to six other schools on the eastern end of the UP, in addition to traveling to schools in Lower Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

For more information regarding the community event scheduled for Monday, March 13th at 6 p.m. at the Hurley High School Auditorium, please call Missy Lane at Community Mental Health at 906-229-6105.  For more information regarding the documentary, please visit the Do It For Daniel web site at or the Face Book page at  We believe this documentary will save lives.  If you or someone you know is struggling with any sort of mental illness, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.Its a disease that the person suffering, often hides from everyone else. We want the world to be more aware of this disease and make it easier to talk about.  couldn’t live with the pain any longer.

We are making this movie to educate people about depression. Its a disease that the person suffering, often hides from everyone else. We want the world to be more aware of this disease and make it easier to talk about.
The stigma of depression (or any type of mental illness) will only be broken down by educating and getting people to talk openly about the fact that it is a MEDICAL DISEASE. Our goal is to spread the word and hopefully this movie will touch many lives. We want people to realize they are not alone. 1 in 4 people will suffer with some form of mental illness in their life time. Our wish is that this movie will also show the power of love, strength and determination. A community that rallied behind a dark situation and banded together to over come the odds and grow together off the field as much as they did on. If we all as a team and community believe and work hard enough, anything is possible! We want everyone to understand, THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE!

Commissioners to consider sale of land for group home

By RALPH ANSAMI IRONWOOD — The Ironwood City Commission on Monday will act on selling a piece of property to Gogebic County Community Mental Health for construction of a group home. The facility would be similar to one operated on Greenbush Street by GCCMH, according to city officials. GCCMH chose property owned by the city on Ayer Street, across from the baseball diamond. “The parcel would be carved out of a larger parcel owned by the city. The proposed parcel was appraised at $3,500,” Ironwood Community Development Director Tom Bergman wrote in a summary to city commissioners. Additional costs for surveying and title work will be the responsibility of GCCMH. Bergman said the property, consisting of two different parcels, is zoned R-1 Single Family Residential on the west half and C-3 Highway Commercial on the east half. The city’s comprehensive plan recommends the area be rezoned to R-2 Multi-family Residential. Bergman said the proposed project would be consistent with the rezoning recommendations in the comprehensive plan. The proposal was reviewed by both the city’s planning commission and parks and recreation committee. Both committees recommended the sale of the property to GCCMH. The city commission meets at 5:30 p.m. in commission chambers on the second floor of the Memorial Building.

Local employers, agencies look to focus on ability rather than disability

By PAULETTE NIEMI, GOISD Transition Services Coordinator, Daily Globe

Transition Services Coordinator IRONWOOD — Working in a job in her community has been a goal of 22-year-old Ann Dahlin’s since she was in high school. Overcoming many barriers that would have stopped others, Dahlin achieved her goal when she was hired as a people greeter at Walmart in Ironwood in October. Dahlin was diagnosed with a cognitive impairment at a young age, and her parents, Jim and Rainy Dahlin, were told by doctors that this disability often carries many road blocks to independent living and employability. The parents, both teachers, set high expectations early on to help Ann become the best person she could be and reach her highest potential for learning and life. Her enthusiasm and positive energy provided a good backdrop for her future success. Along the way in her elementary and middle school years, Dahlin participated in regular education classes with supports in special education to help her gain as many academic skills as she could. When high school approached, Dahlin was enrolled in the Michigan Merit Diploma course of study. By her sophomore year, Dahlin, her parents and teachers realized that this track of study was not serving her in her best interests. With the help of the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District Transition Program, the decision was made by Dahlin and her parents to enroll in the GOISD Moderate Cognitive Impairment program where she would focus instead on learning essential life skills for independent living and employment skills with the hope that she would some day have a job in the local community. “High school is a time when doors to independence, college, and careers are opening as students enter adulthood. But for CI students, these same doors are often closing due to the limitations of their disability,” said Rainy Dahlin. “Ann voiced very early in high school that she wanted a job so that became our goal.” With the help of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services-Michigan Rehabilitation Services, a state agency which mission is to help people with disabilities find employment, Dahlin began a series of work opportunities while in the GOISD MOCI program. She began at Gogebic Community College working in the snack bar under the direction of a GOISD job coach and Amy Tarro, the snack bar manager. “I loved going to work at the GCC Snack Bar because I got to interact with the college students and prepare the daily lunch menu. It was a fun place to work,” said Dahlin. She received a recommendation from Tarro after the first year and the following year, moved on to working in the kitchen at Manny’s restaurant, prepping foods for the daily lunch buffet. Again, Dahlin was successful in learning her job tasks, needing a job coach only for a few weeks before going it alone. “It has been exciting to watch the building block process of area programs working together in the best interest of our daughter,” said Rainy Dahlin. “From early job shadow experiences to explore career interest areas, to her work-based learning opportunities, Ann has had the full support of MDHHS-MRS Counselor Tasha Weber and the Gogebic-Ontonagon ISD Transition Coordinator Paulette Niemi, who with Ann’s MOCI classroom teacher, Jay Pawlak, worked to ensure her success each step of the way.” When Dahlin graduated from the GOISD MOCI program in June 2016, she was ready for the next step in her adult life and reaching her goal of getting a job in her community. She had already learned valuable job skills in her work-based learning program through the GOISD and MRS. Now, another agency would come on board to help her with reaching her goal of employment: Community Mental Health. According to Janet DiGiorgio, Dahlin’s CMH caseworker, “Ann was referred to CMH shortly after exiting the GOISD program. The family asked for Supported Employment services and Ann qualified due to her disability.” Jeff Richards, SE supervisor, said, “The program is designed to assist people with developmental/intellectual and severely mental disabilities to obtain and keep a competitive job in the community based on their interest and abilities.” Kim Kolesar, an employment training specialist, assisted Dahlin with career exploration, job development and the application and interview process that eventually landed her the job at Walmart for the people greeter position. Services for Dahlin continue through long term support. “With the people greeter position, we are looking for someone who is good with the public and can represent our store in a positive way. It is hard to tell this about someone from a job application. We like to have the candidates come in for a personal interview to screen applications,” Walmart store manager John Paakala said. “Ann was called in for an interview for the people greeter position and did very well, so much that we offered her the position. She had the qualities of being outgoing and being able to interact positively with the public.” Dahlin loves working at Walmart and is very proud of her new job as a people greeter. “I get to interact with customers and greet them on their way into the store, put carts away and help customers with getting their questions answered by using the walkie talkie to talk to other departments,” said Dahlin. During the holiday shopping season, Dahlin earned two customer service pins and received a “Happy to Help” customer service award from her manager. “Strengths we see in Ann are her eagerness to learn and help customers. There is a lot to learn for the people greeter position as customers have a lot of questions. Ann has taken it upon herself to learn on her own time more about the store layout and where to locate merchandise so she can be more helpful,” said Paakola. Ann’s positive attitude and smile are a great fit the for the people greeter position. “This person needs to be always positive and greeting customers with a smile. It is an important position as the people greeter is the first interaction that the customer has when they walk into the store and we want that to be a positive one,” said Paakola. Dahlin started at Walmart in October, and has been successfully employed for three months working four hours a day, five days a week. She is looking forward to learning new job duties. “I would like to work in some of the other departments or the bakery,” said Dahlin. She recently learned how to stock shelves and organize merchandise, called zoning, in the toy department. “I am happy that I can earn my own paycheck and have money to buy things for myself, and buy my own lunches when I go out with friends,” said Dahlin. “I feel my disability is not an issue at work because I have so much job experience and I picked a job that is something that is easier for me,” said Dahlin. “I am good at interacting with people and customer service and this is one of my strengths.” Her fellow associates have been very helpful and positive, said Dahlin. “I love going to work every day. My job is fun and rewarding.” Editor’s note: MDHHS-MRS assists eligible Michigan citizens with disabilities with finding employment and maintaining employment. To contact the local MDHHS-MRS counselor, Tasha Weber, call 906-663-6219. CMH serves people with disabilities and provides supported employment services for customers who meet the criteria. For CMH services, call the Northcare Access number at 888-906-9060.

Have a stress-free holiday season

By MIRANDA ANDERSON –Community Mental Health

During this time of year, there are many of us who are excited for the holidays. There are also many of us who may experience profound stress during the holiday season, even if some don’t want to admit it. For people finding themselves anxious and strained this season, Gogebic County Community Mental Health would like to share some tips for a stress-free holiday season. First, stay safe. There are several hazards to watch out for that are rather unique to the holiday season. When driving during harsh weather conditions, plan to drive in the daylight and give yourself enough time to reach your destination so it won’t be necessary to drive at high speeds. Also, make sure that Christmas lights and decorations do not pose a fire hazard and are out of reach to young children and pets. Second, be realistic. It’s essential to set a budget and stick to it when holiday shopping; this i n c l u d e s avoiding impulse purchases. As for one’s state of mind, try not to expect the holidays to go perfectly. It may be helpful to brainstorm possible causes of and appropriate responses to conflict during special events. Last, take some time to be selfish. The theme of the season is giving, and giving back to oneself definitely counts. It is important to practice self-care during times of high stress; so buy an impractical yet appealing gift and keep it, set aside a day just to relax or do a favorite holiday activity with your friends and family. Plus, as always, it’s important to keep up on regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits. We encourage taking these steps into consideration during the holidays. Though these suggestions may not guarantee stress-free holidays, it sets down a sturdy path to follow for good mental health and a happy holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from GCCMH. Miranda Anderson is a community living support and applied behavior analysis aide with the Community Mental Health office in Wakefield.

Kevin Hines 4th Annual Life Quest Presentation, October 12, 2016

kevinKevin Hines is a mental health advocate, award -winning global speaker, bestselling author and documentary filmmaker who reaches audiences with his story of an unlikely survival and his strong will to live. Two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (19 years of age), he attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge.  He is the only Golden Gate Bridge jump survivor who is actively spreading the message of living mentally healthy.  The fall would break his body, but not his spirit. Today, Kevin dedicates his life to saving lives by spreading the message of hope and sharing his art of living mentally well. He is one of the most respected and admired voices of lived experience.

-Author of Cracked Not Broken

-Mental Health Advocate

Gogebic Community College Gymnasium

9:30 a.m. —  High School Students

1:00 p.m. — Middle School Students

Hurley School Auditorium

6:00 p.m. Community- (Q and A, Book Signing)

Admission Free

In Collaboration With: Range Suicide Prevention Council, Cornerstone Church, Bessemer Schools, Hurley Schools, Ironwood Schools, Wakefield-Marenisco Schools, Gogebic CMH.


Special Guest– Joe Williams

Professional Rugby Player

2x WBF World Junior Welterweight champion

Author– The Enemy Within



Do it for Daniel1

Do It for Daniel – Documentary Premier

Documentary Premier:

  • Where: Ishpeming High School, W.C. Peterson Auditorium, Ishpeming High School 319 E. Division St., Ishpeming, MI 49849
  • When: Friday, August 12th, 7:00 PM, Saturday, August 13th, 2:00 PM
  • Tickets: $20,

Do It For Daniel is a film that documents Daniel’s story. This film was created to educate people about the impact of depression, anxiety, and mental illness on people and their families and to create a dialogue. We believe that through education, we can help stop the stigma. People who suffer from these illnesses will feel less isolated and be willing to seek help.

The Do It For Daniel film tells the incredible story of Daniel and how the community of Ishpeming through the Hematite football team rallied to restore hope for all who suffer from this medical illness.

With your support, our goal is to get this documentary into every high school in the United States and all distribution channels that can help stop the stigma.

Reception to follow premier at the Hostoric Gossard Building with food and craft beers from Cognition and Ore Dock Breweries


Community Mental Health Authority receives highest level of accreditation

From the Daily Globe –

Julie and Steve CARF picture

WAKEFIELD — CARF International announced that Gogebic Community Mental Health Authority has been accredited for a period of three years for its Assertive Community Treatment, Case Management/Services Coordination, Community Housing, Crisis Intervention, and Employment Services/Employment Supports/ Job Development programs. The latest accreditation is the seventh consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body has awarded to CMHA. This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during a multi-day onsite visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable. Gogebic Community Mental Health Authority is a non-profit organization with offices at 103 West U.S. 2, Wakefield. It has been providing the services as listed above, in addition to other programs and services, throughout the Wakefield, Bessemer, Ironwood, Marenisco and Watersmeet areas since 1976. CARF is an independent, non-profit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. “The CARF survey process is always a very stressful time for staff,” said Missy Lane, Quality Improvement Coordinator, who organized the survey. “There were close to 1,600 international standards that the organization had to be in compliance with and everyone worked extremely hard to assure compliance and maintain the organization’s Three-Year Accreditation status.” In addition to the review of international standards for compliance, CARF surveyors also interviewed CMHA staff, CMHA Board Chairman Steve Thomas, and numerous individuals receiving CMHA services. CMHA’s full survey report can be found on their web site at For additional information on CARF or the accreditation process, visit or contact Lane at 906-229- 6106

Walk-a-Mile Rally 2016

TV 6 news story

Our 5th Annual Walk a Mile in my Shoes Rally was a huge success. It seems to get better each year! A very special ‘Thank you‘ goes out to Crystal and Josh Suzik for being our main speakers at the Rally. Their testimonies touched everyone. We could not agree more with their message. “Ask for Help.”

SheehanWe would like to thank Bob Sheehan, CEO of Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards for making the long drive from Lansing to speak at our event. Mr. Sheehan talked about the importance of events like Walk a Mile that demonstrate how the power of groups can help to influence lawmakers.



SlavinGogebic Community Mental Health is a part of the NorthCare Network in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We would like to thank Mr. Bill Slavin, CEO of NorthCare for speaking at our Walk a Mile in my Shoes Rally. NorthCare has always been supportive of the event, and Mr. Slavin’s participation is greatly appreciated.


We want to also thank the Bessemer Peer I and Peer II students and the Wakefield – Marenisco National Honor Society students for helping us get ready for our Walk a Mile in my Shoes Rally. Students assisted with decorating, food preparation and serving, and helped along the highway making the public aware of our event, your help is greatly appreciated. We also hope that attending the Rally can help students gain a better understanding of what it is like to have a mental health issue. They will be able to share this knowledge with their schools, friends, and families. The Rally can raise awareness, that it may be struggle to have a mental health issue, but compounding that with a negative stigma makes it even more difficult.students3  students1

Last but not least we want to thank the people that took part in the community statements segment of the program. We also refer this as the open microphone segment, an opportunity for anyone in attendance to step up and tell their own, very personalized story. Stories may be about a particular illness, dealing with the stigma associated with the illness, or discuss being bullied in the past. Other people have expressed gratitude for their families, friends, and Gogebic Community Mental Health for offering support.

We thank you for sharing your stories, and we commend you on the courage that you have to share your story. When a personalized story is told about the stigma associated with a mental illness, it tells us there is much more work to be done. When we hear stories about people being bullied, we know there is more work to be done.

Thank you to everyone that attended.