Government and Health Care

Mental health agency wins $1M grant for program

August 29, 2016
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Network180 in Grand Rapids is the community mental authority for Kent County. Photo via

A county mental health agency has received a $1-million grant to create a program for teenagers and the elderly.

The program model

Network180 in Grand Rapids said this month that it received the funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to support the replication of its Behavioral Health Home, or BHH, service delivery model.

The BHH engages a multi-disciplinary team that includes a psychiatrist, registered nurse, medical assistant, case managers, outpatient therapists and peer support.

To date, the program has shown “great results” for adults between the ages of 25-59.

The BHH works with individuals through periods of illness and recovery, maintaining flexibility in intensity based on an individual's needs.

The key is the "right amount of service at the right time."

Scott Gilman, Network180 executive director, said the BHH model has proven effective in Kent County and resulted in a decreased cost of care per person by $1,500 per year, compared with traditional case management.

“These savings include reduced emergency department visits and fewer psychiatric hospitalizations than individuals receiving traditional care,” he said.

Replicating the program

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund grant will allow Network180 to replicate and test the BHH program to see if the same results are possible with young adults, ages 18-25, the elderly and those with complex substance use disorders.

The grant runs through July of 2018 and includes funding for in-depth training of all clinical team members and external evaluation of the replication effort.

Research shows that half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and three-quarters begins by age 24, according to Network180.

Often, those diagnosed with a serious mental illness between the ages of 18-25 don't meet the criteria set for case management services.

The Network180 project will test the impact of allowing people 18-25 with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders to enroll in services before significant damage is done.

The BHH will coordinate closely with Network180's new Children's Mobile Crisis Unit, which will open next month. This mobile crisis and stabilization unit will serve youth up to age 21 and can directly refer people 18-21 into the BHH for the early initiation of treatment for serious mental illness and substance use disorders.

The grant will also help Network180 work with seriously mentally ill elderly adults, who generally have higher rates of emergency department use, longer hospital stays, increased falls and increased substance abuse, according to Network180.

Michigan Health Endowment Fund 

The Lansing-based Michigan Health Endowment Fund was established to improve the health of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care, with special emphasis on the health and wellness of children and seniors.

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