Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative (SWMJC) is a dynamic group of 12 partners representing media, educational or community organizations dedicated to strengthening local journalism. We support and enhance the news ecosystem in Southwest Michigan, to provide accurate and equitable coverage, and to promote diversity of voices among journalists and sources alike.

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Cultural Conversations

Bridging the Gap for Culturally Competent Mental Health Services

There is limited availability of Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ-specific therapists, making it harder for people in these populations to find a practitioner they feel comfortable talking to.

In this audio project, presented by Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative’s Mental Wellness Project, we’ve paired two sets of therapists from different racial/ethnic backgrounds and life experiences for conversations on working with culture-specific populations.

This was primarily an opportunity for mental health professionals to share and learn together, and have open conversations to uplift mental health services for all individuals in need of support.

The collaborative is proud to share excerpts of their conversations and is thankful to these participants:

  • Maria Faison, El Concilio & Cherish Davis, Integrated Services of Kalamazoo 
  • Timothy Kelly, Integrated Services of Kalamazoo & Sirilda Jones, Integrated Services of Kalamazoo

A solutions-oriented journalism initiative covering mental health issues in Southwest Michigan.

The Science and Art of Well-being: Innovations and best practices in mental health care

Mental health care is having a moment. The stigma is easing. There’s bipartisan action to boost funding and ease access. Recognition is increasing of the importance of mental health for both physical health and quality of life.
The last thing you want to do in therapy is code-switch. That can happen when people of color feel they have to change or adapt their language or cultural customs to fit in with someone else, or to belong to a different group, or to make someone else feel comfortable.
What does one do when their outside doesn’t quite match their inside? One of the most common misperceptions about transgender people is that they don’t identify as transgender until sometime later in life, at very least not before puberty, but are somehow “groomed” into being something they are not.

Mental Health Workforce Crisis: Effective approaches to improving the pipeline

Not long after Nancy Rubio’s family moved to Kalamazoo, tragedy struck. Her husband was killed in a car crash. Her young son Diego was struggling to cope, so his elementary school connected the family to El Concilio, a local organization that supports the Latinx community, for counseling in his primary language: Spanish.
Their personal trauma with gun violence equips local intervention workers to fight on the front lines against it. But at what cost to their own mental health? How a shift in the traditional approach to therapy supports a group that’s usually reluctant to do it.

A Way Through: Strategies for Youth Mental Health

When social worker Jim Henry met the 7-year-old, she was living with an aunt after her mother had died. The girl was struggling in school. Wasn’t sleeping. Had emotional issues.

Overloaded and (Often) Unpaid: Caregiving and Mental Wellness

When our body or mind, for one reason or another, fails us — these are the people who step in to help. Professional caregivers are the front-line heroes who nurse us back to health, who hold our hands when we are alone or hurt, who administer medicine to heal us, and who help us up when we fall. But who helps caregivers when they are in need?