What is Copper Country Mental Health? CCMH is a public governmental entity called a Mental Health Authority organized under Michigan Law. We were formed by Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties in 1963, but we are now an agency separate from their direct governance. However, we are governed by a 12-member Board selected by each of the counties.
What is your mission? It is the mission of the Copper Country Mental Health Services Board to ensure that appropriate, cost efficient, and quality behavioral health services are accessible to eligible persons in Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon counties.
Can you boil that statement down to a single idea? Yes: community support. State and Federal mental health legislation in the early 1960’s was largely aimed at providing care and treatment to people with severe mental illness and intellectual/developmental disabilities in the community, rather than in large state-run institutions. But we don’t want to simply provide custodial care in homes in the community vs. in a large institution; we want to support individuals at any level they need, to help them reach their full potential.
What kinds of support do you provide? We provide a continuum of support, based on a person’s needs. Many people know that we provide counseling, psychiatric services, and crisis assessments, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. We employ over 200 people in areas such as training and prevention, outpatient and community-based services, and acute services. We also operate a peer-led Clubhouse, an Autism program, and nine group homes. For a full description of our programs, click here.
How are you funded? Most of our allocations (88%) come from Medicaid and Healthy Michigan, but we also receive general funding for non-Medicaid recipients, local funds from the counties, funding from the Rice Memorial Clinic Foundation, and several grants. When a recipient has private insurance, we bill that company.
Why don’t you serve every person who requests services? Community Mental Health centers are rooted in Michigan law, in particular the Mental Health Code. This public act was first passed in 1974 and has been amended many times since then. Section 116 of the Mental Health Code requires that priority in services be given to children and adults with the most severe forms of mental illness and developmental disability. Put simply, CCMH is not designed or funded to provide services to people with mild to moderate forms of mental illness and developmental disability. However, if someone in crisis walks into any of our clinics, we will provide help and support regardless of insurance.
What are your core values? We believe that all individuals have tremendous value and the same basic rights, regardless of disability status. For a full listing of our Code of Ethics, click here.
How do you know if you have been successful? Our greatest evidence of success is the many people who are now able to live in our community. In 1965 there were over 20,000 Michigan residents in state psychiatric hospitals; now there are fewer than 1,000. CCMH has nine group homes, and some of our residents were moved from Newberry Regional Hospital over 30 years ago. They enjoy freedoms not available in a state institution such as planning their day and spending time outdoors. We have community-based programs that help people find and maintain housing and employment, thus avoiding many psychiatric hospitalizations by giving an elevated level of support. Not only do our residential and community-based programs offer people the chance to realize their full potential, but they are also much more cost-effective than institutional care.
In addition, our outpatient services collect data on effectiveness, and our Quality Improvement Committee regularly reviews program outcome measures. We send out over 1,000 Consumer Satisfaction surveys each year and publish them here. We are never going to reach a state of perfection, but that does not keep us from trying!
How does CCMH support the community? In addition to the support we provide to our priority population through Outpatient, Community-Based and Residential programs, we offer training to the community on how to help someone experiencing a mental health crisis. To date we have trained over 300 people in Mental Health First Aide, including parents, providers, law enforcement, EMTs, medical community, school counselors, and human service providers. We also provide training to schools on the effects of trauma and frequently write newspaper articles on mental health-related topics. This year we plan to share consumer stories with the community to show that recovery from mental illness is possible and to encourage people to take the first step of asking for help.