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

By many accounts, the negative societal stigma associated with mental health problems — seeking counseling in particular — is as low as it’s ever been. Experts point to the pandemic’s effect on the rise in telehealth and how that has helped ease many people skittish about receiving help into therapy or how social media has helped raise awareness of mental health problems and provided a space for people to interact with others who are struggling with the same issues.