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Published on January 10, 2018

Individuals with Behavioral Health Concerns to Receive Better Access to Care Thanks to Midland Area Community Foundation Grant

Area residents struggling with behavioral health concerns will benefit from a $100,000 grant given to the MidMichigan Health Foundation.

This grant, awarded by the Midland Area Community Foundation, will improve access to care for these individuals by embedding a behavioral health specialist in a primary care practice in Midland and in the Emergency Department of MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland, two points of access most used by people with behavioral health issues.

“We recognize the need to address mental health gaps in our community and are very pleased to support this important initiative,” said Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation.

Behavioral health issues are becoming more common, affecting one in four Americans each year and 50 percent of the population over the course of a lifetime. A national opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions that include local communities such as Midland.

“We are elated to receive such generous support from the Midland Area Community Foundation in helping to address this need that affects so many in this community and beyond,” said Katherine Dollard, Psy.D., L.P., director of behavioral health for MidMichigan Health and one of the key staff members who will help implement the program.

Dollard admitted that the behavioral health system can seem fragmented and difficult to navigate at times. This grant is intended to help alleviate that.

“Having a therapist as part of a primary care team can remove barriers to getting needed care,” explained Dollard. “The doctor and the therapist will work together with the patient to address issues like anxiety and depression. We are hoping to decrease the stigma of getting help for these issues by bringing services where many people seek treatment, at their doctor’s office.”

“Additionally, when a patient is experiencing a mental health crisis, they often seek help at the Emergency Department,” added Dollard. “This can be a frightening ordeal for the patient and their family. By providing a behavioral health professional to evaluate and intervene, during and after the crisis, we hope to decrease trauma and help the patient get the right care at the right time and at the right place including important follow up after discharge.”

This grant comes from the Midland Area Community Foundation’s Community Investment Fund. The Midland Area Community Foundation provides philanthropic leadership to strengthen the Midland community by fostering collaboration and giving today and in the future.

The MidMichigan Health Foundation raises funds to support equipment, services and programs for patients and families served by MidMichigan Health. MidMichigan Health is a non-profit health system headquartered in Midland, Michigan, affiliated with Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan. MidMichigan Health covers a 22-county region with medical centers in Midland, Alpena, Alma, Clare, Gladwin and Mt. Pleasant.

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