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Minding Michigan: When it comes to mental health care safety net, the insured are worst off

Jun 30, 2016

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

How well does Michigan do in helping people who are suffering from mental health problems?

When it comes to the mental health care safety net, the answer is troubling. It seems that Michiganders who have private insurance are the ones whose safety net is weakest. 

That's certainly what it felt like to Julie Hartley. She shared her story on Stateside earlier this month, telling us how she was unable to get adequate emergency mental health care for her suicidal teenaged son, Ian. 

Less than a day after being turned away by Community Mental Health of Clinton-Eaton-Ingham Counties because they had private insurance, and then seen briefly in a hospital emergency room, Ian Hartley made good on his promise to take his own life. 

"When somebody tells you that they have a plan to take their life, they're supposed to be held, and they're supposed to be seen by somebody in the mental health field. That never happened to our son. Had that happened, my son may still be alive today. I know for sure he wouldn't have passed away on May 2," Hartley told us.

Bob Sheehan, CEO of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards, joined us today to talk about our state's mental health safety net and who's slipping through. 

GUEST

Bob Sheehan is the CEO of the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards.