The Mental Wellness Project

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

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.

Reach

Our work covers Southwest Michigan with a focus on:

  • Kalamazoo County
  • City of Kalamazoo and Portage, and outlying communities
  • Calhoun County
  • City of Battle Creek and outlying communities
  • St. Joseph County
  • Three Rivers, Centreville, Constantine
  • Cass County

When Jeffrey Tavarez and Agustin Leal-Diaz heard yet another story of suicide among college youth, they knew they had to do something to help — and they had to do it loudly, with the sound of thunder. The two recent graduates of Western Michigan University also wanted an effort specifically targeted for Spanish-speaking young adults, like themselves.
A sudden lack of baby formula can be another mental health stressor for parents at a time of intense pressure. Formula can be a nutritional life saver, but its prominence has come at the expense of unrivaled mother nature’s milk.