Contact: Tom Lehrer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2023
Macomb County Officials address mental health in new proposed central intake and assessment center
Plans unveiled for expansion of county jail that will assess incoming inmates
Executive Hackel, Sheriff Wickersham and Macomb County Community Mental Health CEO Dave Pankotai hosted an event today to discuss mental health and how Macomb County plans to address the pressing issue in corrections with a proposed new jail intake facility, which is projected to cost $228 million and will be paid for utilizing both county and state funding.
The event was attended by mental health experts and representatives from various Macomb County departments. Speakers discussed the current state of mental health services within jail facilities, highlighting the need for improved mental health care for inmates. They also discussed the role of jail intake facilities in addressing mental health issues and how to ensure that inmates with mental health needs receive appropriate care.
“For individuals in crisis who lack support services, jail can sometimes be a first point of contact with medical professionals, and so it's essential that they receive the proper care and support," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "We are responsible for being a voice for people with mental health issues in our jails and it's crucial that we work to improve services to prevent individuals from being placed in a system that is not currently equipped to deal with these concerns. Confinement is not a substitute for treatment and it is time for a mindful approach to mental health."
In recent years, there has been an increase in advocacy, awareness and understanding of mental health, but many communities and individuals still face significant barriers to accessing mental health services. Many times, people in crisis end up in jails instead of in the care of trained professionals, who are prepared to deal with and treat a wide variety of concerns. This cycle escalated when a number of state facilities, and facilities across the country, began to be decommissioned in the 1960s. Through its new jail intake center, Macomb County plans to address this decades-long gap in care.
“For many years county jails have become mental health facilities in the State of Michigan,” said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. “Over the past six years we have worked to enhance the supervision and services provided to inmates remanded to the Macomb County Jail who display or have a mental health diagnosis. This proposed facility will help us achieve our goal and make Macomb County a safe place for all.”
Macomb County is committed to advocating for improved mental health care for individuals in the community and will continue to partner with stakeholders to achieve this goal, including the experts at Macomb County Community Mental Health (MCCMH).
“Macomb County Community Mental Health is actively working to meet the increased needs within our community by supporting existing providers, adding new providers and establishing new, innovative services,” said Dave Pankotai, CEO, Macomb County Community Mental Health.
MCCMH is actively working to expand its crisis programming, including:
- Working closely with the Office of the County Executive regarding the possible repurposing of the Juvenile Justice Center to the central point of the Community Mental Health Crisis Stabilization continuum
- Working with a consultant to implement a 24/7 engagement center, which will offer a possible alternative to jail and/or emergency rooms primarily for people with alcohol use issues
- In the planning stages for a jail diversion program
- Working closely with schools to expand mental health services to students
- Expanding partnerships with all first responders
- Implementing an on-site mobile crisis screening presence in local emergency rooms
For more information on MCCMH and its programming, which includes a 24/7 crisis phone line at 586-307-9100, visit https://www.mccmh.net/.
Images & video of the event, featuring County Executive Mark Hackel, Sheriff Wickersham and MCCMH CEO Dave Pankotai, will be available HERE later today.
General Media Inquires - please contact Tom Lehrer at 586-463-3523