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Mental health is finally getting the attention it deserves. Can the Kalamazoo area seize the moment?

Jeff Patton, CEO of Integrated Services of Kalamazoo
Photo courtesy of ISK
Jeff Patton, CEO of Integrated Services of Kalamazoo

This story is part of the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative's Mental Wellness Project

Maybe it’s because of spikes in anxiety and depression during the pandemic.

Or maybe it’s the fact so many more people -- celebrities and ordinary folks alike -- are opening up about their own mental-health struggles.

Maybe it’s how the politics around behavioral health funding has changed, particularly after a series of mass shootings.

Whatever the reasons, the importance of mental health is being championed by policymakers, the media and the public.

Original story from MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette

“Mental health has really become a focal point,” said Jeff Patton, CEO of Integrated Services of Kalamazoo, the county’s community mental-health agency. “Almost every day listening to the media, there’s talk about improving mental health and reducing stigma.”

And it’s not just talk. In the past two years, there has been a number of positive developments that are improving access to behavioral health services.

This story is part of the Mental Wellness Project, a solutions-oriented journalism initiative covering mental health issues in southwest Michigan, created by the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative. SWMJC is a group of 12 regional organizations dedicated to strengthening local journalism. For more info visit