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Michigan Diversion Council expanding efforts to help mentally ill, developmentally disabled

Pilot programs across state aim to help residents prior to entering court system

Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – The state of Michigan is expanding its efforts to divert the mentally ill and developmentally disabled from incarceration and get the help they need by approving an additional six sites for pilot programs focused on innovative solutions and expanding two existing efforts.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley today announced the expansion, which includes sites across the state and in rural and urban settings.

“We’re focused on finding the best possible ways to assist people in our communities struggling with mental health issues and developmental disabilities,” Calley said. “These pilot programs will help us learn which strategies are the most effective in reducing risk and providing care, serving as blueprints to be used across our state.”

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Calley to chair the Mental Health Diversion Council, which is overseeing the programs with partners in the Michigan Department of Community Health, which provided $1,667,957 for the pilots, and the Department of Corrections, which provided $998,510 for the efforts.

Agencies selected for 2015 pilots are: 

  • Barry County Community Mental Health Authority, $152,588.
  • Berrien Mental Health Authority, $528,129.
  • Detroit Central City Community Mental Health, $627,000.
  • Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, $357,500.
  • Monroe Community Mental Health Authority, $120,830.
  • Network 180 of Kent County, $555,450.
  • Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority, $275,370.
  • Pathways of Marquette, $49,600.

The Diversion Council in 2014 sponsored pilot programs in Marquette, St. Joseph and Kalamazoo with and two serving Metro Detroit. The Marquette and Kalamazoo programs were expanded for 2015.

Programs are intended to reflect efforts in a variety of settings and approaches to helping people prior to them becoming involved with the court system. The Mental Health Court operates separately and works with people with mental illness and developmental disabilities once they have entered the judicial system.

“Addressing mental health issues and developmental disabilities by providing appropriate care is essential in our effort to improve the overall health and wellness of our communities,” MDCH Director Nick Lyon said. “Through these pilot programs, we will be able to evaluate and support new methods and systems that encourage diversion in Michigan.” 

More information on the Diversion Council can be found here.