Warmly Navigating through Mental Health Services

Navigator Pic
Kathy Walz (left), behavioral health services navigator at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea, helps people  struggling with depression connect to counseling and other resources. In this photo, Kathy is with one of her valued partners, Laura Seyfried, director of the Manchester Community Resource Center.

CHELSEA —  “Ashley” had been struggling with depression for a long time.  Many people had suggested she seek help.  Ashley had collected brochures, business cards and lots of phone numbers.  She did not reach out to anyone.

One day, Ashley’s primary care physician referred her to Kathy Walz, LMSW, behavioral health services navigator at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.  True to form, Ashley did not call.  But three days later, Walz called Ashley.  Ashley met with Walz to talk about her options; they talked about how counseling could help and what it would be like for her.  Ashley went on to receive the mental health care she needed.  Months later, Walz asked Ashley why she finally decided to get care.  “Because you called me,” she replied.

A behavioral health navigator is a licensed behavioral health clinician who helps connect people with services that are specific to their needs.  Unlike a brochure or someone on the other end of a phone line, a navigator offers a “warm hand-off” for care, specific to the person’s needs and circumstances.  Often times the navigator can work with someone to move past the issues that are keeping them from getting the care they need.  The navigator’s services are free.

“St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea created a behavioral health services navigator position because we knew people were having a hard time accessing mental health resources and understanding what services were available.  We developed the navigator to be embedded in the community.  The navigator’s role is to connect people to what they need, based on their specific circumstances.  To my knowledge, this is a unique position – especially for people who are not our patients,” said Reiley Curran, manager of community health improvement at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.

The navigator collaborates with schools, primary care providers, and community-based organizations serving the poor.  The position was created to support people who are struggling with mental health issues.  This program is especially important for people who have a low income and live in rural areas.  Currently, Walz has more than 50 referral sources she can choose from when selecting the appropriate route for someone, including psychiatrists, support groups, therapists, psychiatric RNs and more.

“In our rural area, there were no counselors available for people with low incomes.  It is nice to have Kathy available, at our center, so we can make appointments for our clients to meet with her,” said Laura Seyfried, director of the Manchester Community Resource Center.

The Manchester Community Resource Center is one of many referring partner agencies who connect people with the navigator, Walz.  People in need can be referred to Walz by a primary care physician, a community-based organization, a church, a school, a family member; anyone who recognizes a need.  The service Walz is able to provide is warm, kind and personal; it is non-traditional.  Walz accommodates the person in need by meeting them in a coffee shop, a park, a library, one of her multiple community-based offices – any place that is easily accessible and safe.  Walz is mobile.  She is able to use offices in Chelsea and Dexter, a private space in a Stockbridge school, a little spot above a resale shop in Grass Lake and a private area in Manchester.

Unlike traditional programs, Walz creates her services around the very specific needs she sees.  “Each community can use me, as needed,” Walz said.  “For example, we recognized that seniors were feeling isolated.  So, we created a group just for them to get together.  We also saw that families of people struggling with mental illness needed support too, so we partnered with the  National Alliance on Mental illness of Washtenaw County to offer the Family to Family education series and a support group for family members.  The most important thing is for me to listen to what the community needs, and then give that service to them.”

“Having a navigator has helped because it brought counseling to our community in a non-threatening way.  It allowed our agency to serve as a bridge for our long-time clients to get introduced to counseling in a safe space.  It has opened doors for people who felt there wasn’t any help for them in our community,” said Seyfried.  Prior to having the navigator, Seyfried was only able to direct people back to their primary care physician for help.

On average, 80% of the people who met with the navigator went on to seek additional care.  The model of the behavioral health services navigator is currently being shared with other hospitals within Saint Joseph Mercy Health System to consider adopting.  “The success of the navigator is based on the collaboration of members in the clinical health community,” said Curran.

Drug Take Back Event at Chelsea Retirement Community – Oct. 27

2018-09-12 10_15_15-_ 438_ 80150 SJMC Drug Take Back Event Fall 2018 - Digital Flyer & Facebook ImagCHELSEA – St. Joe’s Chelsea and the Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network will host a drug take back event in partnership with Chelsea Retirement Community, Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research and the Chelsea Police Department:

Saturday, Oct. 27 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Chelsea Retirement Community
805 W. Middle St.
Chelsea, MI 48118
Print Flyer

Accepted medications for disposal:

  • Prescription medications in tablet form
  • Controlled substances in tablet form
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Syringes

Unaccepted medications for disposal:

  • Liquids
  • Inhalers
  • Patches

No Regrets

by Lila Lazarus

Lila Swing
Photo by Costello Candids

We’re moving my Mom this week to an assisted living facility. While her health is good, her mind is slipping away. It’s hard to believe just a few months ago we were talking about traveling together to Poland and the Ukraine to see the towns her parents emigrated from. There’s no chance of that anymore. She always said she was going to learn how to play bridge and mahjong. She never found the time, and now it’s never going to happen.

Thinking about all the things my Mom can no longer do is a powerful wake-up call. When I think of all the places she wanted to travel, the people she lost touch with because she was “too busy,” the hobbies she planned to take up someday… it’s painful to think about. And it’s also a major motivator for me. I don’t want any regrets. I don’t want any guilt. So, I did some thinking about how to live without any. Here’s what I’ve come up with: Continue reading “No Regrets”

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

by Abigail McCleery, Wellness Coordinator, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

Abby McCleeryChances are you have heard the term “plant-based diet,” but you may wonder what it means and if there are any real benefits. Contrary to many diets today that focus on what to avoid, a plant-based diet focuses on including more vegetables, fruit, beans, peas, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds. From our personal health to the health of the environment, there are lots of scientifically backed reasons to include more plants in our diet, including our top 5 reasons listed below: Continue reading “Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet”

Be Your Best Self

HMR program at St. Joe’s helped 62-year-old Ford retiree meet his weight-loss goal

Pat-Shifferd_After-1377059678-1536693750867.jpgPatrick Shifferd is enjoying retirement, feeling healthier than ever. He typically starts his mornings with a glass of water, vitamins and hot cereal before taking the dog out for a two-and-a-half mile walk.

It’s an active lifestyle Patrick says would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago, when he was overweight and ailing from a host of issues.

Patrick, now retired from Ford Motor Company, said his doctor advised him since 2012 to join a weight-loss program. But it wasn’t until he weighed 375 pounds, and his doctor recommended gastric bypass surgery, that Patrick seriously considered making a change.

“I had never been on a formalized weight-loss program before, and I’m not one to get surgery just for the sake of having surgery,” Patrick said.

Determined to avoid surgery, Patrick researched weight-loss programs and came across the HMR program offered at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Continue reading “Be Your Best Self”

Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Oct. 7 at WCC

walk to end alzANN ARBOR – Join Team Joe’s at the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, Oct. 7 at Washtenaw Community College. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. and the walk begins at noon. The event is held to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Learn more or sign up here.

St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Receives Gift of ‘Caring Cradle’ for Grieving Parents

DSC_2361The labor and delivery unit at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor received a Caring Cradle donation from a family hoping to bring comfort to others who experience pregnancy or newborn loss.

Jade and Gasper Rubino made the gift on Aug. 23 in memory of their daughter, Cecily Rosebriar Rubino.

IMG_20180823_105110A Caring Cradle is a bassinet with a cooling system to help preserve a baby’s body, allowing grieving families more time with their baby, and allowing hospital staff to focus on caring for the needs of the family.

The Rubino family worked with non-profit organizations Metro Detroit SHARE and SOBBS (Stories of Babies Born Still) to find placement for two caring cradles in local hospitals. They chose St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor as one of the recipients, stating, “We are beyond grateful to witness the supportive care they provide for their families that experience child loss.”

Chaplain Ruth Tapio gave a blessing during the dedication ceremony, and Jade Rubino shared a few words about loss.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Rubino Family for their very generous gift. This cradle will help support families during their difficult journeys, giving them more time together for creating memories,” Jennifer Schaible, director of women and children’s services at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor, said.

Schaible was joined by Rebecca Kanak, perinatal palliative and loss coordinator, Rosemary Cicala, labor and delivery nurse manager, OB/GYN Dr. Bryan Popp and other senior leaders in accepting the Caring Cradle on behalf of the hospital.

Head & Neck Cancer Symposium: Oct. 26

2018-08-24 09_27_49-17080 Head Neck SymposiumCd2018-8.22.18-PRINT (2).pdf - Adobe Acrobat

Join us Oct. 26, 2018 for our annual Head & Neck Cancer Symposium for Professionals.

October 26, 2018 | 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Washtenaw Community College
Morris Lawrence Building
4800 E. Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI
Registration Fee: $100
(continental breakfast, lunch provided)
4.50 AMA PRA Category 1 credits™
Register here

Be Empowered

St. Joe’s helped new mother Liz Davila-Ferrall meet her goal of having a natural childbirth

New mother Liz Davila-Ferrall marvels at how she and her husband, Mark, have adjusted to parenthood ever since they welcomed their son, Ezra, in April.

“It’s a lot of work, and it’s one of the most challenging things both my husband and I have ever done in our lives, but it’s an amazing experience. Rewarding, beautiful, and challenging,” she described.

Liz delivered her baby at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, where she was determined to have a natural childbirth. Through the remarkable care of the doctors and nurses, Liz said, she was able to accomplish that goal.

After taking a prenatal class at St. Joe’s, Liz and Mark opted to use nitrous oxide – commonly referred to as “laughing gas” – to help ease the anxiety and pain during labor.

“I didn’t really want the epidural, I didn’t really want the extra meds, so this sounded like a good fit,” Liz said.
Continue reading “Be Empowered”

The End of Summer and the Beginning of Now

by Lila Lazarus
Be-Here-Now-image.jpg
The end of summer? Are you kidding me? It happens every year but somehow always catches me by surprise. I can’t stop thinking: “Where did the summer go? How are kids already going back to school? Is that a chill I feel in the air?” I’m creating a feeling of impending doom in my gut. I start imagining the misery of scraping frost off the windshield. My mind starts to wander.

But not this year. This year, I’m trying something new—and you may want to try it with me.  I’m making use of a superpower we all have. I’m staying right here in this moment. We spend so much time worrying about things to come. And it gets us nowhere. It just steals the magic of the moment. Our bodies may be rooted in the present, but our heads are hijacked and time travel into another place entirely. A wandering mind can lead to anxiety and misery. When I don’t stay in the date on the calendar, my head often fills with negativity. So, I’m celebrating this day by staying right here in the present moment without needless worries. If you’d like to join me in this moment, here are simple ways to stay right here right now without worry. Continue reading “The End of Summer and the Beginning of Now”