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Woman with mental illness weighs in on future of behavioral health services

Apr 5, 2017

The future of mental health in the state of Michigan is at a crossroads. Governor Rick Snyder has $2.4 billion in mental health care funding to spend. Lawmakers and advocates on both sides of the health care debate are trying to determine who should manage that money.

Jerri Nicole Wright is a Lansing resident and longtime consumer of state mental health service. She joined Stateside to talk about her journey through Michigan's mental health care system.

Through the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties, Wright was given the tools to turn her life around. 

"The counseling helped me to express some of the feelings that I had," Wright said. "Years later, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and I realized by taking the dialectic behavior therapy skills training there, it taught me a new way to think, which, in turn, changed my self-destructive behaviors. It was a long road."

Wright has been a homeowner for 14 years now, hasn't self-harmed for 19 years, has been married for 22 years, and sober for 26.
 
In the debate over how the mental health system should be funded, Wright is concerned that putting $2.4 billion in the hands of corporations won't be good for consumers like her. 

"My concern is that the consumers will take a back seat if things do change drastically, where [mental health care in Michigan becomes] for profit," said Wright.

Listen to the full interview above to hear more about Wright's journey down her "road to recovery" and how budget cuts have already impacted that journey.

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

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