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Michigan shortage of mental health services outlined in report

Black woman in therapy sits with her head in her hands as her therapist takes notes on a clipboard
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A new report shows Michigan falls short when it comes to mental health services. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan looked at several aspects, but one of the worst was a severe shortage of mental health professionals. An estimated 1.3 million Michigan residents have a mental health condition. About 38% of people who need help are not getting it.

“So what you now see is that people who have extreme mental health needs end up either in a police department or in a hospital where they're either being stabilized or detained for the time being, but they're not necessarily getting the help that they need,” said Tim Michling, one of the authors of the report.

The report also shows the shortage is worse in rural areas than more urban areas. For example, in Washtenaw County, there is one provider for every 200 people. In Preque Isle County, there is one provider for every 4,260 people.

Michigan has one of the most severe shortages of mental health professionals in the nation.

“If you look at the shortage of mental health care professionals, we're third from the bottom in terms of that shortage and only Texas and California are worse off than us,” Michling explained.

Michling says the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a further toll on the mental well-being of Michigan residents.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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