Michigan groups help people in mental health crisis

For decades, Karen Gallagher has worked to provide support and counseling to people struggling with their mental health here in mid-Michigan.

It’s work that she says is needed now more than ever.

“We have seen a definite increase in the numbers,” said President of the Wellness Institute of Michigan, Karen Gallagher.

But as the number of people asking for help is rising, she says the stigma around mental health is fading.

“More folks are reaching out with less strife about that and less concerns about what other people might think about it,” said Gallagher.

Whether it’s help after a divorce or struggles with anxiety, depression, or PTSD, she says finding a therapist can start at home by first doing your homework on the specific support you are looking for.

It is important to research the practice and determine what that practice offers,” said Gallagher.

Then ask questions, all to make sure the fit is right for you.

“You get matched with a therapist for example that is an expert or has experience in those areas,” said Gallagher.

But what if you need help in a moment’s notice?

In Ingham County, there is a 24/7 support hotline and walk-in service.

It’s also something the Jackson organization LifeWays is doing.

“We have walk-ins. We don’t schedule for you to come in, you are experiencing crisis and this is how we are going to help you. We’re meeting you where you are at,” said LifeWays supervisor Nikki Winans.

It’s immediate help for anyone who is struggling.

“One of the main things that we provide is brief crisis intervention in the moment, so a lot of times we will respond to a crisis situation we’ll offer a brief solution-focused type therapy, crisis interventions and the idea is to build that trust, build that re pore with somebody and then get them connected to services,” said supervisor Fred Delos Santos.

Aid that LifeWays says has been amazing to see grow.

“It helps to light that light at the end of the tunnel allowing people to see that there is hope, there is services, there is support,” said Delos Santos.

Both Gallagher and LifeWays say getting help is just a phone call away.

“You know it’s ordinary, it’s regular to have feelings or concerns about things that are going on in your life. It is not abnormal it’s more normal to have those feelings than to pretend that you are perfect or that the world is perfect and you are not allowed to have those feelings,” said Gallagher

“Sometimes just taking that first step is the hardest and we will walk you through the rest of it,” said, Winans.