2022 was an exciting year full of many positive things happening in our area. The Gogebic Community Mental Health Authority (CMH) in Wakefield, MI provides a variety of services for individuals with serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, co-occurring disorders, and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Some of the services include screening/referrals for Community Inpatient Care, Case Management, Therapy, Jail Diversion Screenings, Medication Review/Administration, Home Based Programming for Youth & Families, Supported Employment & Job Development, and Assertive Community Treatment. CMH also manages three Community Housing Adult Residential homes which provide 24-hour care for consumers with special needs.
This past summer, CMH underwent an intensive audit of the organization’s programs/services, which resulted in the agency being acknowledged with a 3-year Re-Accreditation status by CARF International. This distinguished achievement is a national recognition of CMH’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the people served.
During the spring, CMH conducted a community stakeholder survey which went out to various community agencies, schools, law enforcement, health care entities, and a random sampling of consumers and advocates. The purpose of the survey was to gather information regarding particular mental health needs throughout our small rural area, in order to better prepare staff and align services with these issues. An example of one of the outcomes of the survey is that CMH is working to develop more user-friendly literature better explaining the intake process and programming offered for those seeking services with the agency.
In April, with the help from a grant provided through the Gogebic Range Health Foundation and Jonathan A. Erickson Memorial Fund, CMH presented a viewing of the award-winning feature film “Coming Up for Air” by Roger Rapaport at the Historic Ironwood Theater. The film focused on the struggles and uncertainty that families and friends of a person experiencing mental health issues go through. Over 400 Gogebic Range students from local school districts attended a morning viewing of the film, and an evening showing was held for community members. The movie was followed by a discussion featuring local mental health experts from CMH, Aspirus Hospital, private practice therapists, Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services staff, local law enforcement, Range Suicide Prevention Council and community members offering insight and answering questions for the audiences.
In September, CMH participated in a GCC Welcome Back Resource Fair at Gogebic Community College. Staff were on hand to provide information and answer questions about the mental health services CMH offers and how to access help. In addition, staff met with local schools to offer assistance and programming availability for their students with possible mental health needs.
September also saw the return of CMH’s annual Walk-a-Mile Event on the shore of beautiful Sunday Lake in Wakefield. Over 100 individuals and students from Wakefield-Marenisco and Bessemer school districts participated in the event organized by CMH’s Anti-Stigma Committee in collaboration with the Gogebic Range Suicide Prevention Council. The theme of this year’s celebration was “It’s OK Not to Be OK” and it highlighted local law enforcement, fire departments, first responders and ambulance personnel’s involvement in assisting people who are struggling with mental health issues and disabilities. The resounding message heard throughout the event was that these various EMS agencies are always available to support and assist individuals needing help. It takes a village to combat the stigmas associated with mental health struggles and developmental disabilities. We are #StrongerTogether!
CMH would like to wish everyone a healthy and safe 2023. If you or someone you know is in need of help or maybe you are unsure if you need help, please contact the CMH Crisis Line at 1-800-248-0032. You can also call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline which is a 24/7 toll-free National Hotline with support available for anyone experiencing mental health related distress such as thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance abuse crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. “It’s OK Not to Be OK!” Help is available.