Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network seeks $227 million from state to expand mental health care

The Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN) announced a plan Wednesday to expand crisis care and residential mental health care.

DWIHN is seeking $27 million from the state to help it implement a four-point plan for improving behavioral health treatment in Metro Detroit.

"Mental health knows no kind, no type, no race, no economic situation whatsoever. It is just something that affects all of us, whether directly or indirectly," said Eric Doeh, the president and CEO of DWIHN. "We know this is a tremendous ask, but it is a tremendous need."

The plan aims to help people struggling with mental health who are stuck in a cycle that involves police calls, trips to the emergency room, and jail time. In Detroit, nearly 1,500 people have been stuck in this cycle over a two-year period, and they accounted for half of all calls for mental health services in the city. Additionally, 24% had three or more calls to EMS, and 9% were booked in the Wayne County Jail at least once.

"It’s a mental health crisis. Covid didn’t do anything but make worse, worse, and we have to understand that," County Executive Warren Evans said. "We know the problems out there, and we know we tend to give lip service to try and help people. It’s gotta be more than lip service. You gotta have the beds."

The plan includes increasing capacity to treat people in crisis – making space for 450 extra beds – including short and long-term stays. This would be at a newly developed Crisis Care Center and specialized holistic and integrated resource center.

"In 1992 John Engler closed Lafayette Clinic. We've been complaining about it for 30 years. The county executive and I got together and said how about stop complaining about it and actually fix the problem?" Mayor Mike Duggan said. "If you’re going to turn your back on this critical funding for the mental health system, you can't be talking about mental health services the next election. It's time to put up or shut up."

Duggan and Evans will be in Lansing for budget talks.