Third-quarter update
Resources from the Washtenaw County Mental Health and Public Safety Preservation Millage first became available on January 1, 2019.

In this e-mail, we highlight some of the work accomplished in the first three quarters of 2019 including a new supportive housing RFP, student-led anti-stigma campaigns, improved mental health outreach in under-served communities, millage impact data, national law-enforcement assisted diversion training, and more.
Under-served communities
NAMI WC receives millage contract to improve mental health outreach in Whitmore Lake, Ypsi, and Ypsi Township
A Public Safety and Mental Health Millage Contract of $158,000 has been awarded to NAMI Washtenaw County (NAMI WC) to design and implement a mental health education and outreach program for youth and families in the under-served communities of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, and Whitmore Lake. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the largest national grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with mental illness and their loved ones. NAMI has been active in W ashtenaw County for more than 35 years. 

NAMI WC will conduct a series of focus groups to identify gaps and challenges faced by hospitals, community clinics, criminal justice agencies, housing providers, schools, religious organizations, and community mental health providers in the three communities. Then the affiliate will identify and train peer and community leaders to develop and lead activities designed to address those gaps and challenges. Activities will include NAMI signature programs, support groups, and county-wide community events.  Read more.
Five facts
Supportive housing
Apply now for supportive housing resources
This spring, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health asked the Washtenaw Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) to develop a request for proposals process designed to increase supportive housing services across Washtenaw County. We are pleased to announce that the resulting RFP was approved by the Millage Advisory Committee at its October meeting and that organizations are now encouraged to submit proposals prior to the December 20 deadline.

The Millage Advisory Committee plans to award $300,000 to $400,000 per year, over the next three years, to provide supportive housing services for homeless or housing-insecure individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. Supportive housing is affordable housing, but with services that help individuals with complex challenges live with stability, autonomy, and dignity. Positive outcomes often include improved employment, mental and physical health, recovery from substance use disorder, and school attendance. 

The RFP, says Morghan Williams , human services manager at OCED, is designed to bridge critical community housing gaps for individuals--adults and youth--with mental health and substance use disorders.  Read more.
Criminal justice diversion
Washtenaw and Detroit to participate in national LEAD training institute
Washtenaw County and Detroit are among the first Michigan jurisdictions to be chosen to participate in the national Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) training institute in Seattle, WA.

Five Washtenaw County diversion leaders--from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, Community Mental Health agency, and Public Defender’s Office--will attend the training from January 28-30 to learn how to implement the evidence-based model.

Just what is LEAD? Lead is a pre-booking diversion program that channels offenders suspected of low-level misdemeanor crimes to case management and wraparound services instead of traditional booking and criminal prosecution. It's a way for communities to respond to low-level offenses that stem from unaddressed public health and human service needs--addiction, untreated mental illness, homelessness, and extreme poverty--through a public health framework, reducing reliance on the formal criminal justice system.  Read more.
In the news
Youth mental health, anti-stigma work
#wishyouknew campaign, supported by millage funds, is now live             
The #wishyouknew youth mental health campaign officially kicked off on Monday, November 25, with artwork by local artist Lauren Mills , quotes from outreach with hundreds of Washtenaw County youth and adults, and a short video featuring Alisha Spencer , a local mother and community leader who shares insights about how just listening helps.

"The campaign, a collaboration between the Washtenaw County Health Department and the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health Agency, aims to spark honest and supportive conversations about mental health between youth and adults,” says Kayla Steinberg , the health department’s communications coordinator, “and to spread hope that if we can share our truth with trusted people in our life, we can begin to heal.”

Sign up for the #wishyouknew listserv or follow the @ wishyouknewwashtenaw campaign on Instagram. Plus keep your eye out for #wishyouknew bus, billboard, and movie theater ads in the weeks ahead.
WISD receives millage funds for youth-led mental health, anti-stigma campaigns at area schools
A two-year Public Safety and Mental Health Millage grant of $107,000 has been awarded to the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) for mental health and anti-stigma activities. In year one, WISD will use roughly half of these resources to provide mini-grants to 17 area high schools that have signed on to develop youth-led mental health campaigns. 

In addition to the mini-grants, WISD is holding a series of convenings to allow participating high schools to learn from one another. At the first convening on November 6, more than four-dozen students and faculty members from these schools heard about successful campaigns and activities organized by other community organizations. 

Faculty and students from Chelsea High School, for example, described their ongoing #WhyYouMatter campaign (pictured above), which was publicly launched three years ago . In the first year, English teachers had students write about their identities, art teachers worked with students to design and roll out a school-wide photography project, and hundreds of students were photographed sharing their own #WhyYouMatter messages. In the second year, the campaign included a speaker series and prayer flag display in downtown Chelsea and this year, the speaker series continued and a striking string mural was installed. Read more.
Millage origins
Photo: Wittenberg University

A Q&A with Commissioner Andy LaBarre
In 2017, Washtenaw County Commissioner Andy LaBarre was instrumental in the development and passage of the county's Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage, which currently provides about $16 million per year. Thirty-eight percent of the millage revenue is allocated to the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health Department, 38 percent is allocated to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, and the remaining 24 percent is allocated to county jurisdictions that maintain their own police force.

LaBarre was elected to the Washtenaw County Commission in 2012, and represents District 7, located in the eastern half of Ann Arbor. He works at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti (A2Y) Regional Chamber and previously served on the staff of U.S. Senator Carl Levin (2004) and U.S. Congressman John D. Dingell (2005-2011). We checked in with Andy to learn a little bit more about how the millage came to be, why it’s important, and what’s next...

Q. How did the idea for a combined mental health and public safety millage originate?

LaBarre: Over the last several years there was the growing realization that the human services the county was responsible for needed a dedicated source of funding, and we felt that mental health and public safety were intertwined. In early 2017 we really started to see that the issues of public safety and mental health were tied together through detailed data that showed how connected the two populations were. Read more.
And remember
If you or someone you know needs support
Contact us 24/7 at 734-544-3050 or 1-800-440-7548