The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation is launching a new plan to improve the mental health services in Northern Michigan. The Foundation is working with Michigan universities to offer grants for students studying mental health, after a local couple donated $25,000.
“We’re going to focus on students who are nearing the end of their education, and who have an interest in coming to practice in our region,” said Alison Metiva, Vice President of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation.
The Dahlstrom’s, a couple from the Grand Traverse area, are responsible for donating the money to create the Mental Health and Well-Being Fund.
Kate Dahlstrom realized the need for mental health services in Northern Michigan after joining the National Alliance of Mental Illness.
“Mental health and well-being has been a priority need in our community for a while,” said Metiva. “When you look at data coming out of our health care partner providers, mental health and well-being emerges as a top priority consistently.”
The goal is to recruit students to the Grand Traverse Area upon graduation, to work as counselors, social workers, psychologists and more.
So far, the Foundation has partnered with Western Michigan University, who had their Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program in Traverse City.
The Foundation is also in talks with Ferris State University.
“This really just extends our reach in our commitment to the Traverse City area,” said Metiva.
WMU said the funds will target students who are graduating.
”When you’re doing that type of intentional investment, it sends a message to the community for those that are funding, that they care about the Traverse City area, and they want to bring quality mental health professionals to their area,” said Dr. Carla Adkison-Johnson, Interim Department Chair and Professor for WMU’s Counselor Education and Counselor Psychology.
The donors also added an additional $50,000 as a matching challenge. Each person that donates, the donors will match that amount, dollar to dollar.