Community Mental Health rally held at Sunday Lake

By IAN MINIELLY WAKEFIELD — Community Mental Health in Wakefield held its sixth annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes Rally Wednesday. The rally was at the Sunday Lake Pavilion the first three years, but with the inconsistency of the local weather, organizers decided a new venue was necessary and VFW Post 9084 in Wakefield was generous enough to allow the event in its quarters, said Angela Pope, of CMH. The rally focused on: —Educating legislators why mental health matters. —Ending mental illness and intellectual developmental disabilities stigmas. —Educating other folks about the necessity for parity in spending for mental health with physical health care. —Promoting mental health wellness. Pope said many local students were instrumental in arranging the building and preparing for visitors and guests. The Bessemer Peer to Peer students and WakefieldMarenisco Honors Society, in conjunction with CMH staff, decorated the VFW and prepared the location to host around 200 people. Students from Luther L. Wright and Bluff View Christian also had a hand in making the event a success, said Pope. The walls of the VFW were adorned with this year’s crop of freshly drawn placemats by area students. Community Mental Health selects one winner from the hand-drawn placemats to adorn the next year’s giveaway. After a symbolic walk to the gas station and back, guests were treated to a light lunch.

Community Mental Health plans 6th annual ‘Walk a Mile’ in My Shoes’ Rally

WAKEFIELD — May is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month and Gogebic Community Mental Health’s Anti-Stigma Committee continues their efforts to end the stigma associated with mental illnesses and intellectual/developmental disabilities. CMH is planning their sixth annual “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” rally, following the lead of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards. MACMHB, the educational and political arm of mental health programs in the state, just held their 13th annual rally on May 10, at the Capitol Building in Lansing. Nearly 1,000 people participated in their rally, including advocates from Michigan’s 83 counties, state legislators, mental health and developmental disability workers, and all provided statements related to supporting persons with disabilities and providing opportunities for recovery, self-determination, and community integration. Because of the travel distance to Lansing, CMH continues to plan their own rally in Gogebic County, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24, at the Wakefield V.F.W. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the rally will start at 10:30 a.m. One in five adults and one in ten children will experience a mental health disorder at some point in their life, yet many of them cannot or chose not to access the treatment they need. Statistics also show that 10 percent of children and adolescents suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day to day lives at home, school, and with peers. The Walk A Mile event is held to help raise awareness of the (harmful) effects stigma associated with mental illness and disabilities has, and for everyone to accept individuals for who they are, and to focus on abilities, not disabilities. Ann Dahlin and her mom, Lorraine, and Amy Mattson are the featured speakers for this year’s event. The Dahlin’s are from Bessemer and will share their story regarding the positive experiences they had working collaboratively with different community organizations that assisted Ann with securing employment. Ms. Mattson, originally from Wakefield and now living and working in Wisconsin, will also share her recovery story. Bob Sheehan, Executive Director of MACMHB (Lansing), and Bill Slavin, CEO of NorthCare Network (Marquette) will also speak at the event. The program also includes an ‘open mic’ segment so individuals can share their stories, as well. To conclude the program, a symbolic walk will begin from the VFW to the Wakefield Visitors and Information Center and back, and participants will enjoy a light lunch afterward. Along with consumers, parents, guardians, and families, CMH encourages representatives from community associations, mental health and intellectual/developmental disability advocates, legislators, education staff and students, and the general public to join the rally and walk in support of mental health and intellectual/developmental disability awareness. CMH’s Anti-Stigma Committee sincerely thanks the students and teachers of the WakefieldMarenisco, A.D. Johnston, Luther L. Wright, and Bluff View Christian Schools for drawing Walk A Mile placemats that are used in local restaurants promoting the event. In addition to helping CMH advertise the event, by drawing on placemats, the students learn about mental illness and disabilities, to be kind to everyone, and to treat everyone with respect. In addition to being in the restaurants, placemats can be seen on CMH’s Facebook page. The Committee’s theme “Be Kind to Everyone” continues to be used for this special event. For more information or to preregister, call Missy Lane at 906- 229-6105 or

MACMHB’s 13th Annual WAM

The following link is the news release from yesterday’s Walk A Mile In My Shoes rally at the State Capitol building in Lansing. Bob Sheehan, Executive Director of the Association, will be attending our 6th annual WAM on the 24th

Mental Health First Aid Training held

By IAN MINIELLY WAKEFIELD — The Community Mental Health facility in Wakefield brought together a group of adults to learn about youth mental health issues and how to identify when there is a problem verses when a behavior is just being young. Philip Gardiepy-Hefner, training coordinator for Northpointe Behavioral Healthcare Systems out of Kingsford, visited CMH Wednesday for the fifteenth time to provide for a mental health first aid class. While Wednesday’s class was the youth first aid class for adults that work extensively with young people, Gardiepy-Hefner said he also conducts law enforcement, adult, higher education, veterans, and older adults mental health first aid classes. Gardiepy-Hefner said the focus in the youth module, which is an 8 hour course, is identifying typical youth behavior verses behavior when there is a problem. The two types of behavior can look very similar, so the training is designed to foster confidence and education within the adults working with kids to identify behavior with at-risk circumstances. “The goal is to have 1 million trained in the United States and by the year 2020 to have Mental Health First Aid training as common as CPR,” said GardiepyHefner. He said 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health issue and since they had 16 folks taking the training Wednesday, statistically there was a high likelihood at least four of them would have some kind of mental health issue. The youth training for adults is broken down into three sections with different subsections in each consisting of: —Mental health challenges and disorders in youth —Mental health first aid for developing challenges and disorders in youth —Mental health first aid for youth in crisis Gardiepy-Hefner is training people at Aspirus Ironwood today and will be in Marquette Friday.

CMH to offer Mental Health First Aid Training

WAKEFIELD — In addition to the ‘core’ Adult Mental Health First Aid class, the National Council for Behavioral Health has a curriculum focused on helping adolescents and transition-age youth (ages 12-18) who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or in a crisis and Gogebic Community Mental Health is hosting this training on Wednesday, May 10. Youth Mental Health First Aid is an evidenced-based, public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and most importantly, teaches individuals how to help a youth in crisis or experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge and to safely deescalate the situation, if needed. Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis, select interventions and provide initial help, and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care. With the goal of improving mental health for everyone, reducing stigma around mental illness, and helping people who may be at risk of suicide or selfharm and referring them to appropriate treatment, this 8- hour course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, substance use, and disorders in which psychosis may occur. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling, rather, participants learn a core five-step action plan (ALGEE) to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or in an emotional crisis: (1) Assess for risk of suicide or harm; (2) Listen nonjudgmentally (3) Give reassurance and information; (4) Encourage appropriate professional help; and (5) Encourage self-help and other support strategies. The course is designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents, but may also be appropriate for older adolescents (16 and older) so as to encourage youth peer to peer interaction. Anyone who regularly works or interacts with youth, such as teachers, athletic coaches, mentors, juvenile justice professionals, etc., are highly encouraged to attend this training. Since 2008, the core (adult) MHFA training has been successfully offered to hundreds of thousands of people across the US, and since 2009, Gogebic CMH has successfully provided many classes to a variety of Gogebic County audiences including hospital staff, employers, business leaders, faith communities, law enforcement, parents, and the general public. Of special note regarding this training, Youth Mental Health First Aid is not specifically designed for parents of youth with mental health challenges. Although parents and families may find the course content useful, the course provides a basic level of information and guidance, rather than more in-depth information on navigating the healthcare system, which parents may wish to explore themselves. Specific audiences strongly encouraged to attend this Youth MHFA training include non-mental health professionals, such as law enforcement and other first responders, school and college administration, to include teachers and support staff, care givers, community service groups, clergy, and the general public. This free training is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (lunch included) at the CMH building in Wakefield. Registrations are limited and to register for the training, contact Missy Lane at CMH at 906-229-6105 or Mental Health First Aid USA is coordinated by the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Mental Health First Aid USA worked with experts at the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development to develop the youth program and additional information regarding MHFA can be obtained by visiting or

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.