Mental Health in Michigan
Today, Michigan’s public mental health system is administered by the Department of Community Health, (DCH) with most services delivered through 46 Community Mental Health Service Agencies (CMHSPs), who contract with the DCH and receive appropriations from the Michigan Legislature.
The CMHSPs serve persons with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and, in conjunction with statewide coordinating agencies, substance use disorders. Priorities for service are determined by the Michigan Mental Health Code and by Medicaid eligibility.
Michigan’s history of state hospital closures has been one of the most aggressive in the nation, so currently the DCH only operates 3 state psychiatric hospitals for adults and one for children and adolescents:
The Caro Center | The Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital | Walter P. Reuther Psychiatric Hospital
The Hawthorn Center
The state also operates a forensic hospital and one state hospital that serves those with developmental disabilities. For those who have children with learning disabilities, here is a great list of schools to look into.
The History of Mental Health in Michigan
Michigan’s shift from hospital care to community-based care was in keeping with the national movement that began in the early 1960s and we codified that approach in 1974 with the passage of the Mental Health Code. Over the decades, this code was revised and updated, increasing our reliance on Medicaid funds and decentralizing responsibility for the system to county-based CMHSPs.
In 2004, Governor Granholm appointed 29 citizens, including legislators, to the Michigan Mental Health Commission, co-chaired by C. Patrick Babcock and Waltraud Prechter. Three MPS members were appointed, Michele Reid, MD, Rajiv Tandon, MD, and Tom Carli, MD and several members served on the workgroups. The Commission released a detailed report and recommendations backed up witha great deal of accumulated history and analysis, but unfortunately few of those recommendations were translated into legislation to amend the mental health code.
The findings of the Commission and the delays in implementation highlight the gap between the mental health needs of our citizens and the resources available. While Michigan has aggressively sought the funding partnership with the federal government, that only resulted in budget decisions that replaced general funds with Medicaid funds, subsequently reducing our system’s ability to serve those who are not eligible for Medicaid. This has set up an irreconcilable conflict with the mental health code priorities to serve those most severely ill, regardless of their ability to pay.
MPS will continue working to highlight service innovations in both the public and private health arenas and ensure that all of Michigan's citizens can get the mental health care they need.