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Northern Lakes CMH to Present at SXI Parent Network on Nov. 18

A boy with SXI

Parents, guardians, and families of individuals with Severe Multiple Impairment (SXI) are invited to learn about CMH Services specific to SXI. The parent led group will be held on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013 from 7:00-8:30 pm at Disability Network in Traverse City. Gail Goldsmith, Caseworker at Northern Lakes Community Mental Health, will provide information about CMH services specific to people who have SXI. As always, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and share with one another.

Click to RSVP. For more information, contact Sue Paul or Lisa Woodcox at 231.922.0903, ext. 14.

It’s Ok2Talk about mental health

Conversations are going on all over the country that it’s okay to talk about mental health and that help is available. People from every walk of life are coming together to support a wide range of efforts to promote mental health and public understanding of its importance.

These conversations are really important for communicating essential truths about mental illness and recovery: People who experience mental illness are productive, contributing members of our communities. They are not “other people.” They are us.

You’re not alone. It’s ok2talk about mental health.

Open House in Traverse City: Thursday, Oct 24

Please join us in Traverse City on Thursday, October 24, for our Open House, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Staff have been busy planning displays and look forward to sharing what we do with our community! Tours begin at 4:00 p.m. and there will be brief remarks at about 4:30.

The Northern Lakes CMH office on Hall Street was opened in 2001 on the site of the old Red Mill Lumber Company. Previously, services were delivered from various sites throughout Traverse City and in Suttons Bay and Lake Leelanau. The organization began in 1973 as the Grand Traverse County Community Mental Health Services Board. It changed names over the years, including Grand Traverse/Leelanau CMH and Great Lakes CMH.

This year the Hall Street building underwent significant renovation in order to be able to offer primary care services on-site to people served by Northern Lakes CMH. The clinic is operated by the Traverse Health Clinic.

In addition to celebrating our 10th anniversary as the Northern Lakes CMH organization, we continue our celebration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Community Mental Health Act of 1963.

We hope to see you in the Traverse City community on October 24!

Open House in Cadillac this week: Wednesday, Oct 16

Please join us in Cadillac this Wednesday for our Open House, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Staff have been busy planning displays and look forward to sharing what we do with our community! The local Patriots Choir will perform at 3:45, tours begin at 4:00 p.m. and there will be brief remarks at about 4:30.

The Northern Lakes CMH office on Cobbs Street in Cadillac was opened in 1991. The original service sites were on Carmel Street and then Chapin Street followed by sites on Mitchell and Lake Streets in Cadillac and in Lake City. The organization originally began as North Central Community Mental Health Centers, Inc. in 1972 as a result of concerned citizens’ efforts to bring local services to northern Michigan counties. The organization merged with Great Lakes CMH ten years ago in 2003 and now provides services in six counties.

In addition to celebrating our 10th anniversary as the Northern Lakes CMH organization, we continue our celebration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Community Mental Health Act of 1963.

We hope to see you in the Cadillac community this week!

Open House in Grayling this week: Thursday, October 10

Please join us in Grayling this Thursday for our Open House, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. We are excited to share our enthusiasm with you about what we do and to show off our renovated building!

Our Grayling office building at 204 Meadows Drive underwent significant expansion and renovation earlier this year. The open house will be the first opportunity for the community to view the improvements.

Northern Lakes CMH expanded into space previously occupied by the District Health Department #10, and added 2,800 square feet of community meeting space, integrated health space where primary health care providers may meet with people, and an elevator to facilitate access for people with physical handicaps. The building was constructed by CMH in the early 1990s.

We are also celebrating our 10th anniversary as the Northern Lakes CMH organization, after the merging of North Central and Great Lakes CMHs in 2003. In addition, it is a happy coincidence that this is also the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Community Mental Health Act of 1963!

There will be historical displays, including a special 22-panel collage that traces 3000 years of seldom-told history for persons with developmental and mental health disabilities. From antiquity to the present, the 40-foot display brings viewers through an illustrated timeline that shows society’s attitudes and their effects on the lives of people with disabilities.

Tours begin at 4:00 p.m. and there will be brief remarks at about 4:30. We hope to see you in the Grayling community this week!

The psychology of poverty and its impact on mental health in America

The Psychology of Poverty and Its Impact on Mental Health
Source: BestMSWPrograms.com

Special Opportunity! Free Conflict Resolution Workshop

When you are in a heated disagreement with someone, do you…

  • Make sure that you get your point across, or
  • Hold back, waiting for a better time to deal with it, or
  • Make sure the other one gets what they want, or
  • Agree to give a little if they do too, or
  • Figure out a way to make it work for everybody?

There’s always more than one way to deal with conflict. In this workshop, we learn how to listen up and speak out so that the things that really matter to us can get addressed. Conflict can be a chance for positive change. These are skills that can be used at work or with our family and friends.

A special opportunity is open for people who receive services at Northern Lakes CMH and their family members. Creative Conflict Resolution, a three-hour workshop, will be offered four times in the next month – one time in each of our four office locations:

  1. Friday, August 30 – 9 AM to Noon – Traverse City Office, 105 Hall Street
  2. Monday, Sept. 9 • 9 AM to Noon – Grayling Office, 204 Meadows Dr.
  3. Monday, Sept. 9 • 1-4:00 PM – Cadillac Office, 527 Cobbs St.
  4. Tuesday, Sept. 10 • 1-4:00 PM – Houghton Lake Office, 2715 S. Townline Rd.

To sign up, contact:

  • Traverse City – Cindy Petersen at 231-935-3099 or Leslie Sladek at 231-933-4907.
  • Grayling, Cadillac, Houghton Lake – Rosemary Rokita at 800-337-8598.

New Report on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

A new National Core Indicators (NCI) report has been released which give us in Michigan some reliable information about the experiences and outcomes of people with intellectual and/or developmental disability served by the public mental health system.

We can use this information to support our efforts to strengthen long-term policies, to inform and guide our quality assurance activities, and compare Michigan’s performance with national norms. You can read the full report at http://www.nationalcoreindicators.org. It is also located on our website at http://northernlakescmh.com/about-us/how-we-are-doing/.

Here are some findings:


This is the first time statewide data on intellectual disability is available. Compared to other states, Michigan serves a greater percentage of people with mild intellectual disability (40%) and a greater percentage of people with profound/severe (31%) intellectual disability. (The national average: Mild 35%, Moderate 28%, Profound/Severe/ 26%.)

Michigan results also show that a greater percentage of people have psychiatric conditions (45% compared to 33% nationally). The report shows that 12% need extensive behavior support for challenging behaviors compared to 9% nationally.


The majority of people (41%) surveyed live in a community-based residence (which includes group home, apartment programs or foster care). Twenty-one percent live in an independent home and 32% with parent or relatives.


Seventeen percent are employed; of those who are working, 33% are competitively employed. This places Michigan in the range of “significantly above average” for employment compared to national data. For people who were not employed in the community, 60% reported they would like to be; however, only 22% reported having a goal to achieve community employment in their service plan.

Choice and Decision-Making

Michigan’s results in this area are very similar to the NCI national average with many respondents reporting that they do not have input in major life decisions such as where and with whom they live and where they go during the day. Specifically, 52% report they have input into where they live and 40% that they have input on their roommate. It is positive to note that 78% of people report having input into their daily schedule and 88% have input into how they spend their free time.

System Performance

A large majority of people reported that their staffs have adequate training (90%). Seventy-five percent (75%) report they get needed services. A larger proportion of those living in individual homes report getting needed services compared to  those people living in their parents’ homes. Of the 25% who reported they did not get needed services. The services that were most often identified as being needed are:

  • Meeting people/relationship building – 30.6%
  • Finding/changing jobs – 25.9%
  • Changing housing – 24.1%
  • More education/training – 21.3%

Health Care and Health

The majority of people report being in good health; however, 7% report being in poor health. Just 8% used tobacco products. Most people interviewed have routine care:  99% have a primary care doctor and 85% had received a physical exam in the previous year.

Michigan’s results show only 19% report they engage in regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes three times a week). This places Michigan’s results in the range of “significantly below average” when compared to other states.


Only 68% report that they have friends who are not staff or family. Those living independently and in their own home report a slightly higher rate. Forty-four percent (44%) report they feel lonely at least half the time.

Autism Awareness: Learn the Signs. Act Early.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 2 is World Autism Day. Nearly one in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network (1). ASDs are a group of developmental disabilities that can result in major social, communication, and behavioral challenges. Onset of symptoms usually occurs between a child’s first and third birthdays (1). Early identification and intervention can help a child access services and learn new skills; however, most children are not identified until after they reach age 4 years (1).

Great Resource:

CDC’s Learn the Signs, Act Early program has tools to help parents and early childhood-care and education providers track children’s developmental milestones and provides information about what to do if there is a concern. This program also offers resources for health-care providers, including the Autism Case Training course, which is available online for individual continuing education credit and as a classroom-based curriculum for pediatric residency programs. Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/autism.

  1. CDC. Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders—Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 14 sites, United States, 2008. MMWR 2012;61(No. SS-03).

Talking with children about traumatic events

Northern Lakes CMH offers deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut. Such unthinkable tragedies — especially those involving our children —take an immeasurable emotional toll. Our thoughts and prayers are with the parents and citizens of Newtown as they cope and respond.

Tragic events like these have a reverberating effect on citizens far and wide. In addition to help which may be available at Northern Lakes CMH, there is a national Disaster Distress Helpline  you can call at 800.985.5990, or text ‘talkwithus’ (English) or ‘hablanos’ (Spanish) to 66746 at any time.

The Children’s Mental Health Network has assembled some good information for talking with children about the shooting that took place in Connecticut on Friday:

What parents should talk about with children

  • Recognize the sudden, unexpected, tragic event.  Be clear that children and teachers were hurt, don’t be vague.  If the child asks if anyone died, tell the truth as they will certainly hear it via media.
  • Confirm that a lot of people are scared and sad.  Confirm that some people will be worried for a while
  • Let the children know the schools, law enforcement, and government workers have been making safety plans for all of the schools in our area and that their safety and security is the most important thing in their mind.
  • Provide emotional support- it may take a few minutes or hours (even days) for the emotional impact to reach the children.  When it does, provide nurturance (hugs, empathy, kindness, calm support) and ask about their thoughts and feelings.  Be prepared for children to need this several times.
  • Do not have the TV news about the event on for an extended period of time – the news stations wish to inform people about progress of the investigation and other aspects of the case – this is not helpful for  children as multiple exposures to this information can exaggerate the event in their minds.
  • Make sure to spend family time together doing “normalizing” activities – regular meal times, bedtimes, play times.  For some children there may be mild disruptions in sleep, appetite, and social interest.  If these problems go on for more than a few days, contact your family doctor, Northern Lakes CMH, or your local Access and Crisis Line.

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of seriously harming themselves or someone else, call 911.


Serving Crawford, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Missaukee, Roscommon and Wexford Counties in northwest Michigan
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