The Mental Wellness Project Archive

The Mental Wellness Project is a solutions-oriented journalism initiative covering mental health issues in Southwest Michigan, created by the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative.

This is a new project built to:

  • LISTEN to Southwest Michigan community members about the issues affecting mental wellness
  • LEARN how we can improve access to mental health services and supports to build healthier, happier communities
  • REPORT on effective approaches that can remove barriers to mental health services

A college student that works part time, a working parent with a young child, and one adult juggling several jobs: What do they all have in common? Each is maintaining a balancing act just to get through the day. Finding a healthy balance in our responsibilities like work, parenting, and education, is important in maintaining a good mental and physical health, according to Grand Canyon University.
When Carmen Alcaraz moved to Kalamazoo in 2017, she came with hope of a new life filled with fresh opportunities. Instead, she was met with more challenges than she could’ve expected.
When Joy Morris-Burton and Aerick Burton first crossed paths on a walk near their respective homes in Kalamazoo’s Vine neighborhood years ago, there was an instant connection that poets write about and painters portray with pastels.

The Problem We Seek to Address

Some progress has been made toward a just and equitable healthcare system, especially with the implementation of telemedicine. However, access to mental health services remains limited due to societal stigma, shortage of mental health professionals—especially mental health professionals who are culturally competent—availability, and affordability of high-quality services to meet the gap in access.

Financial Support

The Mental Wellness Project is made possible through financial support from Solutions Journalism Network, with the mission to spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting on responses to social problems. It seeks to rebalance the news, so that everyday people are exposed to stories that help them understand problems and challenges, and stories that show potential ways to respond.