Community forms mental health task force

DELTA COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) – According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults and one in six children experienced mental illness in Michigan, based on data from 2021.

In Delta County, the mental health task force is working to change that.

“We’re just trying to make sure that people are aware of the services that are available in the community and then when we identify where services need to be improved, trying to improve and trying to make sure there’s more access to mental health supports, ” said Doug Leisenring, Delta Schoolcraft Intermediate School District Superintendent.

About three dozen people make up four groups working on 90-day action plans.

“It’s a group of educators, law enforcement personnel, folks from the medical community, civic groups, and then other community members that just want to help out,” Leisenring said.

The action groups identify needs in the community and find practical ways to make a difference.

“We have different branches and what we do is we are combining community resources that we might not each know individually about,” said Gypsia Flath, Escanaba Schools instructor paraprofessional.

Right now, those groups include screening for mental health needs in school and providing prevention and intervention, meeting the needs of Native American students, families against narcotics and mentoring kindergartners to build strong emotional well-being.

“We’re hoping to have a good turnout of volunteers that will spend an hour of the week to form relationships with our children that need it the most,” Flath said.

The task force meets in Escanaba every 90 days, but is working to make a difference across the UP and is always looking for more projects and group members, because this group mental health is worth talking about.

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