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Michigan State Capitol Building

AMHMY is an action-oriented group of families who are advocating, loudly, for changes to the broken system that our families, and so many others, are lost in.

Families who are in crisis are digging deep to find the time and energy to make this happen. We invite all stakeholders to come together in partnership on this important task.

Through media campaigns and outreach activities, we are bringing awareness to the plight of children and adolescents living with Severe Emotional Disturbance (SED) 

We know that things must change, so we contribute to the development of legislation, working with any legislator regardless of party affiliation.  This is an issue that crosses all party lines.

We advocate for:

  • expanded funding
  • oversight
  • delivery of appropriate services from agencies tasked with this mission.

We desire to see  an increase in cooperation between all agencies and government departments so that families and their children can receive the appropriate services they need and were promised.

We will support any lawsuits that seek to hold agencies and programs accountable where they have neglected their mission for this population.  Sometimes, this is the only way to foster long-term, positive impact.

We CAN improve this system. We MUST.

If you would like to know more, please send us a message through the contact button below.  You can also find our group on Facebook.

There is no cost to join us on this journey, yet you will find connections, resources and an outlet for your voice.

A Letter Those Who Have the Power to Help Families Living With A Severe Emotional Disturbances Designation.

We are writing to you as parents that have children with the designation of Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED).

We are parents who have seen our suicidal or homicidal children tied to hospital beds for their safety in the emergency room while they waited for an inpatient placement that never came and they were sent back home.

Parent and child watching the sunrise

We are parents who have had CPS called on us because we refused to leave our children in those situations for weeks on end when they needed services that CMH wasn’t providing.

We are parents who have given up foster care licenses because we did everything possible to get the help our foster care children needed and CMH would not work with us to maintain safety in our home. It was an impossible experience, and we just couldn’t do it anymore.

We are parents who have been told that our only option to get the help our children need is to give up guardianship and abandon them at the hospital, exposing them to the
foster care system and us to criminal charges.

We are parents who have been told that juvenile detention is the only way to keep our children and families safe because inpatient or residential therapy isn’t available and neither are the proper supports that would allow them to stay at home safely.

We are parents who have liquidated all of our assets and gone into debt, forever relinquishing our own financial security to privately fund the care that our children should have been receiving through the public mental health system. As diverse as we are as a group of parents, we have one thing in common: The mental health system in the state of Michigan continues to catastrophically fail our families over and over again.

This letter represents the collective voices of those who have been attempting to navigate a complex, confusing and often “not very helpful” public and private mental health system in our state.

Although our stories are painful and powerful, they are not new. The K.B. v. Lyon lawsuit was filed in 2018, and today, going on 4 years later, the same changes are needed in order to help some of the most vulnerable children in the state of Michigan.

We know the following stories are overwhelming, but please hear us out. We promise you the overwhelm that you feel reading these stories is nothing compared to the overwhelm and devastation we feel living these experiences. The honest truth is that if these children don’t get the help they need, it will negatively impact their lives for years to come, and it will break apart the family in irreparable ways.

Will you please listen to the families who are experiencing these system failures and help us change the system?

Most Sincerely,

Laura Marshall, Michelle Massey Barnes, Rachel Murray

Advocates for Mental Health of MI Youth