New fund attracts mental health professionals | New


An ongoing weekly series of stories focusing on the people of northern Michigan. Dahlstrom has witnessed the shortage of skilled mental health workers through his work on the NAMI-Grand Traverse Board. She called the shortage a huge problem and wanted to both help students complete their expensive behavioral health degrees and encourage them to come and serve their community.

“We’re targeting students who are about to graduate, kind of in the home stretch with scholarships of $ 10,000,” Dahlstrom said. “I would like it to be really well funded for the next two or three years so that we can make an impact quickly and get clinicians here as quickly as possible. “As organizations across the country know, we are seeing fewer applicants applying for open behavioral health positions,” said Terri LaCroix-Kelty, director of behavioral health at Munson Medical Center.

The hope is that the money from the fund will fill the gaps in the local behavioral health workforce. The Munson Medical Center facility houses a 17-bed adult general psychiatry unit. The center is able to help people facing mental health crises, but due to staff shortages, expanding services to focus more on prevention, for example, is not part of the conversation. This despite a “greatly increased need,” said LaCroix-Ketly.

“It became very clear to her that there is a great need, and that one part of that need has to do with clinicians and has to do with sort of having qualified people who are there. can provide the care needed and there just isn’t enough – there just isn’t enough here, ”said Alison Metiva, vice president of donor engagement at the Grand Regional Community Foundation. Crosses. According to the foundation, the initial grant of $ 10,000 was given to Western Michigan University to use in a student support fund for graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling. A second grant to be used in the same way is underway for Ferris State University.

“It’s definitely related to the stress of COVID and not just the stress but the isolation that people experience,” she said. “I mean we’re told to be isolated to stay safe, which isn’t the way human beings are wired,” LaCroix-Ketly said. The stress and loneliness that accompanied COVID-19 only increased the demand for people in need of mental health supports, she said.

“The mental health balance we once had has been challenged and tested – and many of us have failed,” she said. In his field, Adkison-Johnson said getting the advanced training needed was crucial. Dr Carla Adkison-Johnson, professor of counselor training and counseling psychology at Western Michigan University, agreed that for many the pandemic was nothing less than a traumatic experience.

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