NC Mental Health celebrates its 50th
By Carol Mills, Executive Director, NCMH
Newaygo County Mental Health was formed by the County of Newaygo in 1972 - this year, we celebrate 50 years of serving the mental health needs of Newaygo County.
In so many ways, it was a different world 50 years ago. Richard Nixon was President, although it was also the year that 5 White House operatives were arrested for their role in the Watergate Scandal. Gas was 36 cents a gallon. The US would be in Vietnam for another year before beginning withdrawal of troops.
In 1970, there were 11,134 people living in State Institutions in Michigan. As a result of Michigan enacting the Mental Health Code, by 1975, this number had been reduced to 4,925. Today, there are only 772 state psychiatric beds. In 1997 the State of Michigan closed all but 5 of its State Facilities. Three of these facilities serve adults, one serves children, and one is the Center For Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti that takes are of individuals who are involved with the court system often for charges in which the defendant pleads either Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) or Incompetent to Stand Trial (IST).
Newaygo CMH started in a house located on Wilcox in White Cloud, near the current offices. They constructed the current office in 1979, with a major expansion of this space in 2008.
CMH in Newaygo County serves people of all ages and disabilities. From Children to Adults, both with mental illnesses and intellectual/developmental disabilities, Newaygo CMH works to meet both their clinical needs, as well as housing for people needing foster care.
Newaygo County Mental Health is governed by a Board of Directors that is appointed by the Board of Commissioners to 3 year terms. We are locally accountable to this community that we serve.
Newaygo CMH serves approximately 2,500 Newaygo county residents per year. Today, there are no County residents living in a State-run facility. People who are unable to live on their own without assistance often live in a foster care home in the community. Newaygo CMH provides jobs to the community by hiring caregivers. We believe that people have a choice on where they live, and what they do. We strive to provide choice and self-direction in helping everyone lead meaningful lives.
Over the years, we have served many people in this community. We appreciate the public’s trust in our cause, and work to reduce the stigma of mental illness and substance use disorder.
Over the next few months, we will share our personal stories and history with Newaygo County. We hope that you will join us as we celebrate our 50th year of serving the greater Newaygo County community.