Town Hall Meetings


On January 11, 2016 Ottawa County, North Ottawa Community Healthcare and the City of Grand Haven sponsored a Town Hall Meeting on Mental Illness. More than 100 people attended that Town Hall Meeting. A panel that included representation from Community Mental Health, NOCH, Grand Haven Area Public Schools, Mental Health Court, Ottawa County Jail,  and TCM Counseling shared their initiatives. This was followed by a Q&A session. A Community Conversation completed the event with community members sharing what they considered to be the priorities that need to be addressed and who they believed should be on a task force to address those needs. 

A Task Force was convened and members were recruited to represent the areas identified by the community. The concerns were reviewed by the Task Force. Initiatives that were already addressing concerns were shared and concerns that were not being addressed created the list of priorities for the Task Force. All of this information was shared at a second Town Hall Meeting on March 2. 

As the work of the Task Force continues, this web presence will be one of the ways in which we communicate our work to the public so that everyone can be aware of opportunities for participation. It will also be a place for compiled information to serve as a reference for the community. 

Town Hall Meeting: The Impact of Mental Health on Families: Coming Up For Air

Click Here for Meeting Notes

Town Hall Meeting: Alternative Treatments and Therapies

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Town Hall Meeting on Sexual Assault

Town Hall Meeting- Sexual Assault Coverage 

What can our community do to help end sexual assault and sexual harassment?

  • Support CAC, CWIT and other prevention programs

  • Encourage education from 0 to 100 including youth, parents, and grandparents

  • Ask the Chamber to host a Lunch and Learn on Sexual Harassment in the workplace

  • Teach kids about good and bad touch, provide materials in the home, check who are vulnerable loved ones (young, old, disabled) are spending time with

  • Volunteer as mentors and family supports (Check out the United Way website for opportunities

  • Train police to respond to domestic calls

  • Advocate for and support those who report assault and harassment

  • Give $ to help with capacity issues

  • Encourage participation in Call to Action and other programs recognizing they are not One and Done but require the will for long term investment

How to we create a Common Vocabulary and establish a New Normal?

  • Talk to our kids from day 1 using real words to name genitals and encouraging healthy sexuality that doesn't involve exploitative or objectifying behavior

  • Talk about the signs to look for and grooming events

  • Recognize this is not a Women's Issue - it is a Human Issue

  • Emphasize Responsibility, not Shame

  • Be mature and matter of fact when discussing these issues

  • Don't objectify other human beings

Town Hall Meeting on Addiction

Identifying Gaps in the Community

 Refer to Clinical Committee

  • Ottawa County Detox Places- NOCH

  • Alternative Holistic Medicine- Rebecca Neil

  • Limited programs for immediate inpatient/outpatient- Spectrum, Jody Sprague

Refer to School Committee

  • Reintroduce education in schoolsà Talk Sooner

  • Parent Education- MC offers support group for parents/caregivers

Refer to Judicial Committee

  • Paying court fees- programs in place, but people aren’t aware about it, create awareness (need more info)

  • Drug Court- Expanding

OAR-> Barbara to extend invitation

  • Living Spaces (Hope House/Sobriety House/Shelter)

  • Support Groups- OAR, open to having groups at MC

  • Walk-in Facilities- OAR

  • Peer to Peer Support Specialist- Promote and raise awareness


  • Transportation to support groups/resources, etc.- Harbor Transit (new director) – Barbara to extend invitation

  • Continual Training's-  MHFA, QPR- MITF to continue to promote

  • Enabler Educatio- Addiction Series (Summer 2018 Inspire! Series)- Barbara to explore 

Town Hall Meeting on Suicide 

New Initiatives to Address Gaps Identified in the Community

Lobby to Educate Legislators

Family Psycho-Education and Support

Tom Dooley from NAMI Grand Rapids is leading a Family Support Group the 4th Tuesday of every month at the Momentum Center for Social Engagement, 714 Columbus, Grand Haven. This is free and open to anyone who cares for a loved one with mental illness. 

Training/Anti-Stigma/Community Education

Community Mental Health of Ottawa County(CMH) offers Mental Health First Aid 8 hour certification training.  The intent of this training is to help you better understand mental illness and how to respond to someone who is facing a mental health crisis.  You will be equipped with a five step action plan which includes the skills, resources and knowledge to assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis with linking to a professional, peer support, or a social support.   The cost is $10.  A Mental Health First Aid brochure with more information is available here.  You can also visit the website to learn more about the program. Please contact Anna Bednarek at 616-494-5545 or by e-mail as soon as possible to register for the training. 

Updates for Town Hall Meeting, September 2016

Gaps Identified by Community at January Town Hall Meeting
Follow Up Report from Mental Illness Task Force
Hand Out from March 2 Town Hall Meeting

Concerns to be Addressed by the Task Force

Lobby to Educate Legislators
There will be a Stamp Out Stigma rally on the Capitol in May that we can participate in. CMH participates in a quarterly Legislative Breakfast.       

Mental Health First Aid Training
This is an 8-hour curriculum offered by CMH. It is usually delivered over one 8-hour day but can be delivered in two 4-hour segments. There is also a Youth Mental Health First Aid training program. The cost is $20 which covers the cost of the manual. We need to ascertain interest in the community for participating in this training.    

Anti-Stigma Event/Community Education
Grand Haven High School is planning a Stigma Ending Event. This could be a good model for a community wide stigma ending event hosted by the Task Force. Hope Bridge is a movie that is being shown at high schools to build awareness of mental illness. We could explore using this as a community education event outside of the school system. The Town Hall Meetings themselves provide community education about resources and needs. We could expand the meetings to include more intentional education on mental illness itself.  

Coordination of Volunteer Efforts
The primary reason for lack of services in the community is a lack of funds. Often those funds would pay for staff to take care of needs. One option is to carve out those needs that can be provided for by nonprofessionals and to find volunteers willing to help in those areas. There are many important initiatives under way that people may not be aware of. The central resource for this information is 211.

Drop-In Center/Social Opportunity/Safe Teen Center
A concept paper for a Drop-In Center is being developed by Extended Grace in collaboration with other community partners. Once the scope is defined, funding will be sought.         

Family Psychoeducation and Support
DBSA encourages family members to attend their meetings with their loved ones. A family member in need of individual counseling can get that assistance through TCM. There is no program that focuses on providing education and support to families who have a loved one with a severe psychiatric diagnosis. We are exploring NAMI as one possible a way of meeting this need. 

Transportation to Services in Holland
Love INC and 4 Points offer transportation to medical appointments. The Fremont Area Community Center operates an “uber” like transportation system that we are exploring. N.E.T.S. is a nonprofit working on transportation to work issues. This is an area where community volunteers could be helpful. (see below)

Concerns Being Addressed/Community Resources

Clinical Concerns Being Addressed:

Child Phychiatrist(s)/ Coordination of Psychiatric Care with Homeless Shelters:
Pine Rest is leading these efforts with it's residency and fellowship program. 

Geriatric Mental Illness/Alzheimer & Dementia Support
CMH is piloting a program now called Senior Reach at the Little Red House & Christian Haven.

Geriatric Caregiver Support
This is available for free through 4 Points. The Little Red House offers an Alzheimer's support group. Area Agency on Aging also offers support. 

Mindfulness/DBT Training
TCM and other therapists provide these therapies while CMH provides both therapy and training. 

Alternative/Natural Based Approaches - Food as Medicine/Center without Pharmaceuticals
This is not a standalone solution but something that should be integrated into all aspects of services for mental illness.


Elementary Counselors in School Buildings 
This is an issue created by lack of funding.  The need is currently being addressed through TCM’s School Outreach Program that reaches out to children and teens who cannot otherwise access professional counseling services because of cost and the inability to get transportation to a therapist’s office. 

One on One Mentoring 
This is offered through Kid’s Hope and through High School students in the National Honor’s Society. Other programs that address this need are Big Brothers Big Sisters, Spring Lake Watch Dogs, Girls on the Run, Pathways. 

Restore Prevention/Education at secondary schools 
Raise Your Voice has replaced D.A.R.E. Deputy DeVries leads the initiative in the schools. Be N.I.C.E is also being implemented in the schools. 

GHAPS initiatives implemented in Spring Lake 
The Task Force provides a good opportunity for discussion between school systems. Both school systems have programs in place that can be shared with the other. 

Community Based Concerns Being Addressed

"Kandu" type facility - employment, job skills, job development
There are a number of programs and organizations stepping up to fill the needs that Kandu’s closing has left. Peace at Home is a private pay day and respite program for the elderly and those with disabilities. Other providers that are now accepting CMH referrals include Pioneer Resources, Preferred Employment, and Bella Vita. Love INC also offers some job skills training.   

Homeless Shelter
Our community does have a number of transitional housing services including Hope House at Love INC. We do not have an emergency shelter. There is a new program just starting called Impact that is gathering food, clothing, and personal care items. There are emergency shelters in neighboring communities.


Police Training to Recognize Distress/Mental Illness
This training is taking place and involves training all law enforcement in QPR and in Mental Health First Aid.  

Diagnose and Treat in Jail
CMH does work with the jail to provide this service but the jail is understaffed so that this is not happening at the level that it should. This is one of the areas that will receive more funding if the mental health millage passes. 

Possible Models
We are following up on the request to look at two San Antonio Models that were suggested at the Town Hall Meeting: Restoration Center  Crisis Intervention Training SAMA training in non-violent intervention and containment without harm is also available for our officers.

School Systems Additions
Elementary Counselors in School Buildings: * TCM's School outreach program is funded primarily fundraisers, assistance from community organizations and grants. In the 2014/2015 school year, TCM provided free therapy services to 283 students in 10 area schools.  TCM School outreach is currently in SL: K thru 8, and their alternative HS.  TCM has offered services to the HS.  In Grand Haven they serve 4 elementary schools, MS, HS, and Central. The other elementary schools have requested services and this is a current focus for expansion.
One on One Mentoring:  * The Wyoming School System has a successful and comprehensive model that involves church, business and civic groups. That program is being explored. Many mentoring programs need more adult participation which individuals in our community can help provide.