Media & News

In The News

Recent media reports about the mental health crisis have illustrated the severity of the crisis and explored what factors have contributed to it. Coverage about controversial programs has also been getting attention lately.

We are challenging the media to dig deeper into the crisis to report on the impossible task of getting help from a broken system and what needs to happen to fix it. Contact us to learn what’s been missing in the coverage.

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May 10, 2023

Amyre Makeupson and CBS Detroit were there were members of AMHMY sat down with the project directors for a 5-year mental health program for Michigan Schools.  You can watch the report here.

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April 28, 2023

Members of AMHMY had the opportunity to address the Michigan House Subcommittee on Behavioral Health.  Robin Erb from Bridge Michigan covered the story. Check it out HERE.

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March 30, 2023

Amyre Makupson and CBS Detroit continue to report on our issues. Check out this interview with Rachel, Michelle and Laura as they talk about why they started this advocacy movement. .

Click here to watch

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March 10, 2023

Amyre Makupson and CBS Detroit have put together a special report on the state of mental health services for Michigan Youth. It’s a deep look into the struggles that Michigan parents face and the shortcomings of our system. Some of our AHMY members were interviewed for this report.

Click to see Part 1  and Part 2

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March 8, 2023

AMHMY continues to gain traction as members of our group were able to share their stories with AZMirror. The fight that has begun locally is beginning to receive attention across the nation. Read the article here.

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March 4, 2023

CBS Detroit ran this story recently documenting the struggles two Michigan families have faced while trying to to get help for their kids. You can see it on YouTube here.

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February 21, 2023

WXYZ reports that Hawthorn Center, the only state-run facility for kids who need psychiatric care is suffering from a high number of escapes.  The largest problem? Not enough staffing. 

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February 9, 2023

WILX in Lansing ran another story about the Mental Health Care Crisis in Michigan.  AMHMY participated in this story.  You can watch it HERE. 

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November 25, 2022

Download a PDF of Broken Promises, an article written for the Detroit Free Press that was published on September 11, 2022. It highlights the broken Community Mental Health system in Michigan in that when they need to do investigations, they investigate themselves. 

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November 1, 2022

NPR investigated how the lack of mental health care prices drives up costs for families, leaving some of them with mountains of debt. 

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October 20, 2022

In the midst of a mental health crisis, the State of Michigan reduced the number of beds available by 70.  They claim, they “have no choice.”  WXYZ from Detroit covers the issue.

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October 9, 2022

Hiding in Plain Sight – Follow the journeys of more than 20 young Americans from all over the country and all walks of life, who have struggled with thoughts and feelings that have troubled—and, at times—overwhelmed them. Hiding in Plain Sight presents an unstinting look at both the seemingly insurmountable obstacles faced by those who live with mental disorders and the hope that many have found after that storm.


July 13, 2022

To the advocates for Mental Health of MI Youth,
In follow up to your request LifeWays will be developing a local parent advisory group for those served by LifeWays, in Jackson & Hillsdale counties. Stay tuned as more information will be forthcoming and we look forward to supporting a processes to strengthen the voice of those served.
I also wanted you to be aware of a state wide advocacy opportunity for those who are also involved with the Child Welfare system.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is looking for a diverse group of parents to serve on the Guy Thompson Parent Advisory Council (GTPAC).
GTPAC is comprised of parents with lived experience in the child welfare system, including CPS and FC. The Advisory Council assists the MDHHS and partner agencies by developing recommendations or suggestions for improving child welfare responses to families and providing input on policy development.
For more information regarding the GTPAC, please visit GTPAC public website.
Maribeth Leonard MBA, LBSW
Chief Executive Officer
AMHMY Press Release

For Immediate Release: June 3, 2022

Jackson, Hillsdale, Michigan – A group of families gathered for the Lifeways Community Mental Health Board meeting last night to push back against disinformation and advocate for Mental Health reform for children with Severe Emotional Disturbance in Michigan. These are children who are at-risk for suicide, inpatient hospitalization, or juvenile detention based on the severity of their needs. Parents explained how they have been unable to access appropriate supports and services that are needed to keep children safe in their homes.

“I keep hearing how easy it is to access and navigate the Community Mental Health system and that children receive high quality care, including a variety of specialty services that you can only get through the public health system. As a parent group, we are saying this is simply not true,” said Rachel Murray, co-founder of the group calling itself “Advocates for Mental Health of MI Youth”.

Another parent, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her child’s privacy, shared what happened the last time she called for crisis support from Lifeways . “I spent 30 minutes on the call, mostly on hold. They told me there was nobody available for crisis support. There wasn’t even a clinician available that could consult with me by phone. They told me they would call the police for me instead. Meanwhile, my child was having a mental health crisis and was in critical danger to herself.”

The Community Mental Health system is funded by Medicaid and has statutory responsibility to provide a 24 hour response in every county in Michigan. However, parents routinely report that they cannot access help when they call for crisis support, which endangers children and their communities.

Families from all over the state attended the Lifeways board meeting hoping to bring attention to this state-wide issue, demand accountability, and press for children to receive mental health services that are supposed to be guaranteed.

Laura Marshall, a parent from Kent County shared how her son is currently in juvenile detention because of her CMH’s lack of support. “I have been asking for help for my son through our CMH, Network180 for about 9 years. They are refusing to provide supports and services in our home and community, as federally contracted, to help us maintain a basic level of safety. They told me to go through the Juvenile Justice system for services. Our son has had multiple stays in juvenile detention, but not ONE stay in a therapeutic placement that provides mental and behavioral supports and services. My son is NOT a criminal. He needs mental and behavioral health support.”

Parents at the meeting cited unreasonably long delays in processing applications for program eligibility, then more delays processing authorizations for services. Often, services aren’t provided even after families receive the authorizations for services. All of this is out of compliance with contractual guidelines set by the State of Michigan.

“More advocacy groups and legislators working on mental health reform need to listen to parents talk about the system failures they are experiencing and the catastrophic impact it is having on their families,” said Michelle Massey Barnes, Lifeways client and another co-founder of the group.

The group is asking for:
Policy and advocacy reform to consider the lived experience of families struggling to navigate the public mental health system
Accountability and oversight that ends out-of-compliance practices that prevent children from getting the services they need
Access to the full continuum of care and services outlined in the Michigan Medicaid provider manual

Advocates for Mental Health of MI Youth is a parent-led, grassroots group working on behalf of youth in need of complex mental health supports and services in Michigan. Families assist each other in navigating the system while also advocating for accountability and policy change. To get involved, visit their website at www.MentalHealth4MIYouth.com or email [email protected].

Media Article

05/02/2022 It’s Time For Employers To Support Youth Mental Health

The mental health of America’s young people was a major national concern before COVID-19. Now it’s reached crisis stage. As a nation, it’s past time to prioritize youth mental health and provide young people with the support they need. And employers have a significant role to play. Read or listen to the rest of the article at Forbes…

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The United States is experiencing a profound crisis when it comes to mental health care. In a recent Senate Committee on Finance hearing on youth mental health, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy shared that Americans wait 11 years, on average, between onset of mental health symptoms and first receiving treatment. This gap is staggering. The consequences are plain to see: higher suicide and drug overdose rates, more Americans without a safe place to sleep at night, more children experiencing depression and anxiety that will compound as they grow into adulthood. The house is on fire, and the nation is short on firefighters equipped to put out the blaze. This crisis has been made even worse by the disruption, isolation, and loss experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here from the Senate Finance Committee…

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03/31/2022 A cry for help: CDC warns of a steep decline in teen mental health: More than 4 in 10 told the health agency they felt ‘persistently sad or hopeless’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of an accelerating mental health crisis among adolescents, with more than 4 in 10 teens reporting that they feel “persistently sad or hopeless,” and 1 in 5 saying they have contemplated suicide, according to the results of a survey published Thursday. Read or listen to the full article at the Washington Post…

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03/22/2022 ‘We can’t wait.’ N.J. must tackle surging mental health crisis now, experts warn

Suicidal teens languishing in emergency rooms. Spiraling students waiting months for an appointment with a child psychiatrist. Increasingly younger children self-harming and attempting suicide. The mental health crisis is only getting worse in New Jersey and its leaders must do everything they can to address it with urgency, experts and advocates told lawmakers Monday during a special hearing. Read more on NJ.com….

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03/17/2022 ‘Is this what a good mother looks like?’ After struggling to get treatment for her mentally ill son, a mother’s act of desperation: Giving up custody

As she sat in the courthouse parking lot, Lisa Rowe looked at her reflection in her rearview mirror. “Is this what a good mother looks like?” she wondered. She still had a bruise on her right arm where her 17-year-old son had grabbed her three weeks earlier, screaming expletives in her face as she was driving him to school. When she closed her eyes, she could still feel his hands around her throat from the year before. Read or listen to the full article in The Washington Post…

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12/07/2021 U.S. Surgeon General Issues Advisory on Youth Mental Health Crisis Further Exposed by COVID-19 Pandemic

Today, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a new Surgeon General’s Advisory to highlight the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis. As the nation continues the work to protect the health and safety of America’s youth during this pandemic with the pediatric vaccine push amid concerns of the emerging omicron variant, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health outlines the pandemic’s unprecedented impacts on the mental health of America’s youth and families, as well as the mental health challenges that existed long before the pandemic. Read the full statement…

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10/19/2021 AAP-AACAP-CHA Declaration of a National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

As health professionals dedicated to the care of children and adolescents, we have witnessed soaring rates of mental health challenges among children, adolescents, and their families over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbating the situation that existed prior to the pandemic.  Children and families across our country have experienced enormous adversity and disruption.  The inequities that result from structural racism have contributed to disproportionate impacts on children from communities of color. Read the full statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics…

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06/07/2021 Op-Ed: My daughter fell off the mental health care cliff, and I have to jump after her

Our mental health system has failed my daughter. Again. Actually, that’s not true. There is no system, no real help for her. My 20-year-old daughter tried to kill herself three weeks ago. She took a lot of pills all at once and, afraid that wouldn’t do the trick, drove toward the American River to drown herself. Her boyfriend happened to drive past her car and waved her down. That serendipity is the only reason she’s alive today. Read the rest in the Los Angeles Times…