Interview with Carol Mills
Hi Carol, what does the Newaygo County Community Mental Health Agency do?
Our agency offers supportive services to residents of Newaygo County who have severe and persistent mental illness and /or development disabilities. We provide a holistic assessment to identify a client’s needs, linking with appropriate community resources and monitoring and assistance to maintaining optimal mental and physical health within the community. In addition, we provide many services to the community, including therapy, case management, medication prescribing, substance use disorder treatment, along with many other needed services.
Tell us more about the "Don't go out - reach out" program.
To do our part to support the shelter in place order during this COVID-19 crisis, Newaygo CMH is partnering with agencies such as Pine Rest and Forest View Hospitals to let people know that help is just a phone call away and is available 24/7 to anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis at this time. Each of our agencies are equipped to conduct services via telephone or tele-health at this time. On-site, face to face assessments are also available to anyone who may be experiencing a life threatening crisis. Local hospitals and Emergency Departments are already overwhelmed by preparing for and serving sick patients during this pandemic, so we want to provide whatever services we can to assist with keeping people out of the hospital Emergency Rooms and preventing possible exposure and the spread of this virus. We also want people to understand they are not alone in going through these difficult times. We have licensed counselors available to talk and help people who are in crisis.
Call 800-968-7330 or 231-689-7330 if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Why is collaboration important?
In the context of this current health crisis an beyond, it is critical that organizations such as NCMH, Pine Rest, Forest View and other community partners work together to exchange best practices and provide access to services for those people in need by whatever means that we can in order to help slow the spread of this virus. Coordinated efforts open up new channels for communication now and in the future, and we can work together toward the common goal of community health and well-being by sharing our ideas and skills with each other. All parties mutually benefit from working together and sharing the load.
How does a person know when to call for help?
A “crisis” can look and feel different to each person. A crisis situation exists any time you or a loved one is no longer safe to self or others or when there is a need for immediate action or intervention. Some signs that you or a loved one may be experiencing a mental health crisis may include but is not limited to: Rapid mood swings, extreme energy or lack of it, sleeping most of the time or being unable to sleep at all, severe agitation, confused thinking or irrational thoughts, not eating or overeating, isolation from family and friends that is different from social distancing, threats to harm self or others/suicidal thoughts or statements. Increased use of alcohol or drugs, or using alcohol and/or drugs to cope may also indicate a need for help.
Carol Mills has worked for Newaygo CMH since 1997, serving as their Chief Operating Officer until she was appointed Executive Director about 18 months ago. She is proud of the staff of Newaygo CMH, and how they are continuing to meet the needs of our clients and their families during this time of crisis.
Carol says, "We believe in taking care of our staff, so they can take care of others. The staff of Newaygo County Mental Health are amazing – they care deeply for the people we serve, and work hard to ensure that their clients are living their best life in the community. We couldn’t do this without their endless dedication and commitment to the people we serve.”