Prevention and Education

Prevention and education are essential for improving and maintaining the health and wellness of our community.

These initiatives tackle root causes and upstream issues, which ultimately reduce costs and prevent adverse health outcomes by reaching those in need early. WCCMH values educating community members about how to recognize and respond to mental health crises and needs, as well as destigmatizing reaching out for help.

Mental Health First Aid

In 2020, the millage funded a three-day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructor certification course, training 31 individuals to teach adult and youth courses in the years ahead. These individuals—who learn how to recognize when someone is having a mental health crisis, de-escalate the situation, and refer individuals to community-based support—are now teaching these lessons to dozens of others across the county.

Prayer and Care

In October of 2020, with millage support, the Washtenaw County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness hosted a Prayer and Care summit. The event educated dozens of clergy members, teaching them to recognize the signs and behaviors of common mental illnesses, to understand local mental health resources, and to help community members get care—when, where, and how they need it.

#WishYouKnew

With the help of the Washtenaw County Health Department in 2019, the millage launched the #WishYouKnew campaign—to combat youth mental health stigma. The campaign emphasizes that no one is alone in their mental health journey and links those in need to resources. In 2020, the campaign gathered 22 #WishYouKnew phrases to convert into visually appealing messages to share on social media and in local schools, increasing engagement on the campaign’s Instagram page by 230%.

School Mini Grants

WCCMH partnered with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District to administer mini- grants to high schools across the county. The funding allowed schools to address mental health stigma, foster well-being, and provide additional support to students where needed. Many of the grants were student-developed and led.

31N Social Workers

31N refers to funding from the state’s executive budget for mental health grants in Michigan schools—to improve mental health services provided to students. Millage funds were used to match state funds, which allowed for more CARES staff and social workers to be co-located in schools. Their presence helps with referrals to CMH services and allows more students with higher risk of behavioral health needs to be served.

Garrett’s Space

With the help of 170 volunteers, Garrett’s Space distributed 20,000 door tags to homes across Washtenaw County. They covered approximately 80 percent of homes in Ypsilanti and 75 percent in Ann Arbor. The door tags listed resources for people in crisis, including emergency rooms, local mental health resources, and national call or text hotlines. They also distributed a few thousand cards with the same information to schools, religious organizations, and medical buildings.