Sen. Stabenow spotlights mental health services in Benton Harbor visit

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 7:11 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR (WNDU) - Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) visited Benton Harbor on Tuesday in part to discuss the expansion of mental health treatment in Berrien County.

Riverwood Center is now a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC), a designation that means mental health treatment and addiction services receive full Medicaid support, thanks to bipartisan legislation Stabenow co-authored and passed in 2014.

“So fast forward to [2021-2022], when we were debating the gun safety bill, everyone kept saying, ‘We need to do something for mental health. We need to do something for mental health. And well, [Sen. Roy Blunt] and I raised our hands and said, ‘You know, we have an evidence-based program that’s been - being done in 10 states as a demonstration. We know it works,’” remarked Stabenow.

And with the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act clearing Congress, additional funding has been allocated for CCBHC’s such as Riverwood.

“Here, in Benton Harbor, there’s just wonderful work going on as they’re beginning to use the funds. They’ve had the initial funding for about a year,” Stabenow added.

She also hopes more people see that it’s okay to ask for help when it comes to their mental health.

“My goal is to make sure that we literally are treating brain diseases, emotional diseases, addiction diseases, the same way we treat any other physical challenge in the other disease. That’s the goal for this. And I think we’re on the way,” Stabenow said.

Riverwood Center is one of 35 CCBHC’s in Michigan. There are more than 435 clinics of this kind nationwide.