Michigan Association of Health Plans

New mental health crisis line to roll out across Michigan

A new 24/7 mental health crisis support line is now available in Oakland County and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – and it’s just the first step of a larger plan to roll out improved mental health crisis services across the state.

The new Michigan Crisis and Access Line (MiCAL) provides phone, chat, and text support for Oakland County and U.P. residents experiencing mental health or substance abuse crises. A statewide, regional rollout is planned by fall of 2022. Trained crisis specialists serve as mental health first responders, answering calls or texts to 844-44MICAL (844-446-4225) and chats via MiCAL’s website.

“[MiCAL] is a coordinated crisis system for all Michiganders, regardless of the severity of issues or payment type,” says Krista Hausermann, strategic initiative specialist at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Administration. “The federal government encouraged us to set up a crisis service for everyone that coordinates with other behavioral health services in the state. MiCAL is the first component that we are developing as part of a coordinated crisis system – a public good, like fire departments or the police, for everyone in the state.”

MiCAL is the first part of a three-part plan that also includes setting up brick-and-mortar crisis stabilization units and mobile crisis first response. The crisis stabilization units will provide a location where people experiencing urgent mental health or substance abuse crises can go. Like a hospital emergency room, they will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Unlike a hospital ER, the care will be trauma-focused and tailored to people with behavioral health needs.

“They will also allow time for a crisis to unfold naturally,” Hausermann says. “In a hospital emergency room, people want to get in and out [and] get things resolved quickly. With a mental health issue, oftentimes people need a safe, quiet place where other service professionals can come in, touch base, assess them, and take the time for the crisis to unfold in order to see what’s going on. It’s a very different environment.”

Like paramedics, the mobile crisis units will take action when people experiencing a mental health crisis are unable to get to a place where help is available.

This article originally appeared in Second Wave. Read more here.

  back to blog