Chelsea Youth Mental Health Community Collaborative holds first workgroup meetings

By Seth Kinker,

After a community forum addressing youth mental health that took place in April, the Chelsea Youth Mental Healthy Community Collaborative (CYMHCC) held their first workgroup meetings in late May as they continue to form an action plan to address the issue of youth mental health, specifically in Chelsea.

During that first community forum, there was an opportunity to sign up for workgroups that were to define specific actions to be taken. The three workgroups being stigma and education, connectivity and resiliency, and access and treatment.

Over the course of the next two months, these workgroups will meet four times, with a fifth meeting planned for August 13 to tie all of their work together as they put together a plan to present at a community town hall planned for the fall.

Marcus Kaemming, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Human Resources for the Chelsea School District, a member of the District Wellness Committee and one of the leaders with the CYMHCC, talked to The Sun Times about the structure of the CYMHCC.

The CYMHCC leadership is made up of representatives from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and the District Wellness Committee.

Although they are leading and organizing the efforts, Kaemming told The Sun Times the CYMHCC, the name the group adopted after hosting the initial community forum on youth mental health, is owning the work right now because no one else is in place to do so.

“This isn’t a hospital or school district initiative necessarily,” said Kaemming. “Even though we both have a horse in the race, this is a big community piece. This mental health and wellness, it clearly affects both of us but it affects the community as a whole.”

A similar comparison would be how SRSLY was formed around eleven years ago. The community recognized that substance abuse was an issue and SRSLY was formed as a result, it has branched out since but its core mission began because the community recognized an issue.

Now, eleven years later, youth mental health just might be that next topic the community recognizes it needs to address.

Kaemming explained that it was hard to envision what type of group would step in to own this initiative.

“At the district wellness committee, and the reason Reiley (Curran) has taken the lead with me and some other people now, we brought a table top task to this group of maybe 45-50 people from the community,” said Kaemming on addressing who takes ownership of the initiative. “And said what do we want to do with it? SRSLY take this under its wing? The hospital? Another municipality? From that group the conversation was, it shouldn’t be SRSLY but could be like it with new branding. A different scope. That’s when you get into the fiduciary responsibility.”

“A positive approach to mental health will be our direction vs. a response to an action which is what SRSLY did,” added Kaemming. “A lot of work around supporting all the way through vs waiting until something happens, A different approach.”

If interested in getting involved with the initiative in any way, you can email Kaemming at



Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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