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Stay Well Program Overview

What is the Stay Well program?

The Stay Well program is administered by behavioral health professionals at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in partnership with the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) and Gryphon Place. It provides mental health support services to Michigan residents struggling to cope with emotional distress from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally set up through a federal grant from FEMA in early 2020 with training provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the program is now supported by state and federal funding.

Three-pronged approach

1. To help all Michigan residents, the program team launched the Stay Well crisis counseling line in April 2020. Counseling is accessed by dialing Michigan’s COVID-19 information hotline (1-888-535-6136) and pressing “8.” It’s free, confidential and available 24/7. Calls are answered by trained crisis counselors who provide psychoeducational and emotional support, as well as connection to community resources.

2. Crisis counselors who staff the Stay Well line also host virtual support groups for teachers, older adults, teens, healthcare workers and others. These free emotional-support discussion groups meet weekly on the Zoom platform.

3. To help Michigan’s hardest-hit residents, the Stay Well team includes trained outreach specialists assigned to 10 different population groups considered especially vulnerable to pandemic stress:

  • Seniors and older adults
  • Homeless individuals
  • Unemployed residents
  • Healthcare providers and first responders
  • School teachers and staff
  • Children and families
  • People experiencing racial/ethnic health disparities
  • Immigrants and limited-English-speaking residents
  • People with Substance Use Disorder
  • People with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Because face-to-face counseling may not be safe during a pandemic, outreach specialists use a variety of other methods to reach individuals in these vulnerable groups. They partner with community-based organizations, faith-based groups, nonprofits, and professional associations; they create, market, and host psychoeducational webinars; and they distribute online and printed materials with helpful tips for staying mentally well.

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