Washtenaw Co Releases 2022 Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage Impact Report
Washtenaw County Community Mental Health (WCCMH) recently released its 2022 Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage impact report, outlining the effects of the voter-approved millage. The millage, which annually generates around $6 million for mental health services, has contributed to numerous local initiatives in 2022.
The investments made possible by the millage have led to expanded local access to mental health and substance use care, housed 250 previously homeless individuals, established jail-based behavioral health services, integrated mental health professionals into 911 dispatch response, increased support for youth in schools, and provided community education aimed at reducing stigma and supporting access to care.
Trish Cortes, executive director of Washtenaw County Community Mental Health, praised the initiative: "The impact of the millage has been truly remarkable. Historically mental health has been poorly funded, but flexible millage dollars have enabled us to make significant strides in critical areas, transforming the landscape of mental health services in our community."
Administered by WCCMH, the county's public mental health agency, millage funds have been essential in expanding services to a broader segment of the community. Without millage support, WCCMH's ability to serve would be limited to Medicaid enrollees with severe conditions and emergency needs. However, millage funds have allowed WCCMH to serve uninsured residents, privately insured residents without sufficient mental health coverage, and residents with mild to moderate mental health and substance use concerns. The additional funds have facilitated face-to-face crisis response and expanded staffing to meet growing demands.
Community agencies such as Avalon Housing, the Corner Health Center, and the National Alliance of Mental Illness-Washtenaw County have also benefited from the millage, enabling them to expand their programs and support more people in need.
The report highlights investments in five key areas:
- Mental Health Service Expansion: WCCMH increased mental health care access to 1,109% more clients without Medicaid in 2022 compared to 2018, reflecting a commitment to universal access.
- Housing and Mental Health Services for Homeless Individuals: Millage funds have helped house over 250 homeless residents in 2022.
- Criminal Justice Reform: Millage-supported programs have redefined the county's approach to public safety with initiatives for alternative policing and reform.
- Youth Mental Health Services: Youth mental health services received a boost in 2022, with over $2.3 million going to the Washtenaw Intermediate School District to support student mental health needs.
- Mental Health Prevention and Education: The report details how millage funds are working to reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking behavior for mental illness and substance use.
The full report is available at https://www.washtenaw-mentalhealthmillage-impact.org/