MDHHS awards grant for behavioral health services

MDHHS awards grant for behavioral health services

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Press Release


CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, [email protected]

MDHHS awards grant to develop and implement

statewide system of behavioral health mediation services

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has awarded Oakland Mediation Center a grant to develop and implement a statewide system of local mediation services to resolve disputes related to behavioral health services provided by Community Mental Health Services Programs (CMHSP) and their contract providers. 

MDHHS Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Administration and MDHHS Office of Recipient Rights have partnered with community and advocacy partners to ensure that all people receiving publicly funded behavioral health services in Michigan have access to an independent mediation process to resolve concerns about their services and treatment. Currently, the CMHSP system serves more than 230,000 Michigan residents and the CMHSP Customer Services and Recipient Rights Departments receive a variety of inquiries and questions related to treatment planning and behavioral health services.

The use of mediation as a first step in the dispute resolution process fosters better treatment relationships and provides for a timelier agreement on what supports and services will be provided by the responsible mental health agency.

“The use of mediation has a proven record of successful outcomes in resolving disputes and allows the patient to be an active participant,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “It is exciting that we are able to provide mediation services to resolve complex behavioral health treatment needs in a meaningful way by bringing all parties to the table.”

“We are honored to have been awarded this grant to provide a vital alternative to resolving service disputes for behavioral health service complaints,” said Charity Burke, executive director of Oakland Mediation Center. “Within the next few months, we will be working with our counterparts across the state, MDHHS and local officials to ensure this program is offered to people that need their voices heard and conflicts resolved.” 

The project funded by this grant is expected to be fully implemented by September 2021.

Tips to Avoid COVID-related Scams

Tips to Avoid COVID-related Scams

Attorney General Dana Nessel

Media Contact:

Lynsey Mukomel 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

AG Nessel Shares Tips to Avoid COVID-related Scams

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wants to ensure Michiganders don’t fall for fake advertisements or too-good-to-be-true treatments related to COVID-19.

In her latest Consumer Protection video, Nessel shares what to do to avoid being scammed by people claiming to have a treatment for COVID-19 or the vaccine.

“We’re at a point in this pandemic where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but bad actors are trying to take advantage of that collective hope by making false promises,” Nessel said. “Please continue to do your research and use trusted sources before making any decision that may affect your health.”

Earlier this month, the attorney general told people to avoid vaccine survey scams offering a reward in exchange for personal information.

Additionally, it’s important to always remember:

  • be suspicious of any product that claims to treat COVID;
  • never purchase so-called treatment over the internet;
  • if you get a text, email, or phone call from someone you don’t know about a vaccine or treatment, don’t respond or send your personal information; and
  • if you’re looking for the COVID-19 vaccine, visit your doctor, a trusted pharmacy, or your local health department for your shots.

Today’s Consumer Protection video is part of a series of informative and humorous videos focused on protecting Michiganders.

They are posted periodically on the Department’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram accounts.

Additional resources are always available by visiting the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection webpage.

Celebrate trees this Arbor Day, April 30

Celebrate trees this Arbor Day, April 30

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Celebrate trees this Arbor Day, April 30

A man walking down a path in a green forest

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Trees do a lot for us. Whether they grow in cities or in the forest, trees provide homes for wildlife, places to play, renewable building materials, clean air and water and natural beauty. They also absorb floodwaters and their leaves take carbon out of the air. Arbor Day, celebrated by Michigan the last Friday in April, is a holiday to recognize this green goodness and appreciate trees.

Use this guide to find fun ways to recognize Arbor Day, learn about trees and give back to the natural areas you love.

The Arbor Day Foundation created a digital toolkit to celebrate Arbor Day on social media – request yours today!

For more information about forest management in Michigan, contact Rachel Coale in the DNR Forest Resources Division at 517-930-1283.

Michigan’s Arbor Day roots

Image of a shovel in the ground via Goumbik on Pixabay. Arbor Day, first held in 1872, was envisioned as a way to spread awareness about the importance of trees and to encourage tree planting.

In 1885, the Michigan Legislature resolved “that the Governor is hereby requested to call the attention of the people of the state to the importance of planting trees for ornament and by naming a day upon which the work shall be given special attention, to be known as Arbor Day.”

Did you know? Until 1965, the Upper and Lower peninsulas had separate Arbor Days in the spring because of the difference in weather conditions for tree planting. Today’s Arbor Day celebrations usually take place during the whole last week of April.

Creative ways to celebrate Arbor Day

People hold small pinecones in their cupped handsGet into the spirit of Arbor Day by planting a tree or celebrating trees in other fun and creative ways.

  • Take your family on a tree-ID neighborhood chalk walk. Use the “What Tree Is That?” tool and write the name of the tree on the sidewalk to teach others.
  • Visit the DNR’s Nature at Home webpage to help kids discover the wonders of the natural world.
  • Give a tree as a gift. Unlike cut flowers, trees can be enjoyed year after year.
  • Create and share tree-themed art. Use tree coloring pages to get started or make nature crafts from pine cones, leaves and twigs.
  • Learn about the importance of trees and sustainable forest management.
  • Hike at your local park or nature trail and spot wildlife living in the forest.

How to plant a tree

A closeup of a pinkish-white apple blossomThere’s no better way to celebrate Arbor Day than bringing home a tree to plant! Will it be a shade tree? One that makes fragrant flowers? A native tree? Or a tree that grows tasty fruit? Follow the steps to plant a tree the right way to ensure that it will flourish. Get more planting tips from the Arbor Day Foundation.

  • Choose the right tree for your location and climate. Don’t plant under a power line or over underground service lines – visit to get them marked.
  • Dig a hole three times wider than the tree’s container and about as deep.
  • Set the tree in the middle of the hole, and bring the root collar (the place where the roots meet the stem) just above ground level.
  • Backfill the hole firmly with soil, creating a basin where water can settle.
  • Water the tree and spread mulch around the base, leaving space around the trunk. Don’t build a mulch pile around the tree’s trunk, which can grow mold.
  • Water frequently in the first year and watch your tree grow big and beautiful.

Video: Michigan Arbor Day Alliance poster contest awards

Trees for our healthWatch the video awards for the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance’s “Trees For our Health” fifth-grade poster contest, connecting students with nature through art. Winners received tree plantings for their schools.

Share your love of nature with an Adopt-a-Forest cleanup

Three volunteers clean up debris from the forestMelting snow in the forest has given way to springtime sprouts and wildflowers, but is also revealing unsightly trash and dump sites hidden during the winter season.

Help care for the outdoor places you love by planning an Adopt-a-Forest cleanup, a perfect activity to recognize Earth Day, Arbor Day or any day that nature inspires.

The Michigan Adopt-a-Forest program, founded in 1991, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. In 2020, volunteers completed an incredible 100 cleanups in 100 days, removing 459 cubic yards of trash from state forest lands. They plan to keep the momentum going and need new volunteers to join the effort.

Here’s how to lend a hand: Visit to learn about safety and sign a volunteer waiver. Then, it’s time to get outside and complete a cleanup! Use our searchable dump site map to decide where to go. Sites are ranked by size, so it’s easy to find one appropriate for small, socially distanced groups.

Meet Michigan’s majestic state tree, the white pine

A white pine branch and cone with the Michigan capitol building in the backgroundThe beautiful, towering eastern white pine is a fitting pick for Michigan’s state tree.

The white pine can be identified by deep green needles that grow in clusters of five and swish in the breeze. White pines have gray bark and produce long cones. These trees grow fast and tall. How tall? More than 100 feet up in the wild!

The white pine was made Michigan’s official tree by Public Act 7 on March 4, 1955, commemorating the tree’s importance to our state’s history. At one point, Michigan was the leading timber producer in the nation due to its vast stands of this native tree.

Today, we still harvest trees, but now Michigan’s state forests are certified by two independent agencies as using responsible management practices to ensure that we’ll have trees for today and for future generations.

Stewardship Week focuses on healthy forests and people

Stewardship week logo with the words "healthy forests, healthy communities" over artwork of people, trees and wildlife.This year, the National Association of Conservation Districts celebrates Stewardship Week, April 25-May 2, with a special focus on trees that links up perfectly with Arbor Day. Events include virtual webinars and other resources on tree-related topics.

Contact your local conservation district to learn more about how to help promote forest conservation in your community and how to get involved as a volunteer.

Brush off your boots (and invasive species) for forests

A man in a blue coat uses a boot brush before hiking a trailHave you seen a boot brush station at the trailhead of your favorite pathway?

These stations help people brush off any invasive plant seeds or bugs that might be hitchhiking on your boots from trail to trail. Using a boot brush can help protect the trails and forests you love from the devastating effects of invasive species that outcompete or devour native plants. Stand firm, give your boots a brisk scuffing to knock off any packed dirt and you’re ready to hike! Do the same thing at the end of your adventure to remove anything you may pick up on the trail.

Visit to learn about more actions you can take to prevent the spread of invasive species.

trail with footprints going through the sand dunes with grass on a sunny day
Consumer Alert: Text Scam Targets UIA Claimants

Consumer Alert: Text Scam Targets UIA Claimants

Attorney General Dana Nessel

Media Contact:

Lynsey Mukomel 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

AG Nessel Reissues Consumer Alert as Text Scam Targets UIA Claimants

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning people about a text message impersonating the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).

The department was recently informed a text message is targeting claimants with a fraudulent announcement that UIA is making changes to security features. A similar scam has been targeting people through email, making both instances an opportunity to remind Michiganders that UIA is currently only communicating through the claimant’s Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) or via mail.

This specific smishing attempt, which is when scammers send text messages pretending to be from trusted sources, asks the recipient to click on a link and log into their account, or risk losing their benefits. The goal is to obtain the claimant’s personal information that can then be used to steal their identity.

“At a time when so many people are struggling financially, bad actors are using scam texts and websites that mimic government unemployment insurance benefit websites,” Nessel said.  “These sites trick people into thinking they’re applying for or certifying their UIA benefits; instead, they wind up giving scammers their personal information. I urge Michiganders to be vigilant to protect your personal information.”

Here are important reminders:

  • UIA will not send a text message or email inviting you to apply for UIA benefits;
  • if you have applied for UIA benefits and get a text or email about your application, contact your UIA directly using contact information included in your account;
  • never click links sent in a text or email claiming to be from UIA; and
  • if you believe someone has stolen your identity to claim unemployment benefits, report your concern to UIA.


Miguel Cabrera named co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission

Miguel Cabrera named co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission

Header 2021


April 28, 2021

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer names Detroit Tigers great Miguel Cabrera as co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations 


LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today Detroit Tigers great Miguel Cabrera has volunteered to serve as a co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission and help promote the state’s COVID-19 vaccination and education efforts.


“We are grateful that ‘Miggy’ is stepping up to the plate to help inform Michiganders on the importance of getting their COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Governor Whitmer. “We appreciate the tremendous support and advocacy from the Detroit Tigers because this is an all-hands-on-deck moment in our state’s effort to persevere and overcome the pandemic.”


Cabrera, nicknamed “Miggy,” is an 11-time Major League Baseball All Star and two-time American League Most Valuable Player who joined the Tigers in December, 2007. He and the Tigers have offered to produce public service announcements in English and Spanish that will encourage Michiganders to get vaccinated and continue to practice preventative measures such as properly wearing masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing to reduce the spread of the virus until the vast majority of people have been vaccinated.


“I am honored by Gov. Whitmer’s appointment as a co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission and look forward to using my platform to increase awareness of how getting vaccinated can help slow COVID-19 infections,” Miguel Cabrera said. “Based on what I know from getting vaccinated already, the shots are nowhere near as bad as the virus. Our goal with the Commission is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, and I hope my support toward that end is successful.”


Gov. Whitmer created the Protect Michigan Commission in January. The appointees represent a diverse array of industries, professions and backgrounds. Housed within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), they are charged with helping to ensure every Michigander has a plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19 once the opportunity becomes available. Their goal is facilitating at least 100,000 shots in arms daily.


“Miguel Cabrera exemplifies the Detroit Tigers’ on-going commitment to causes serving the greater public good,” said Chris Granger, Group President, Sports & Entertainment at Ilitch Holdings, which owns the Detroit Tigers.


“The Detroit Tigers are proud to join with Gov. Whitmer and members of the Protect Michigan Commission,” Granger said. “Together, we urge all Michiganders and fans of the Tigers to get vaccinated and prevent the spread of COVID-19 so that we can return to the full stadiums, arenas, concerts, and sporting events that we all love so much.”


Under the current MDHHS epidemic order, public attendance for select outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities must operate under enhanced safety protocols, including limiting crowds at up to 20 percent capacity, or approximately 8,200 ticketed guests at Comerica Park.


The Tigers have coordinated with public health and medical experts, government officials and Major League Baseball to develop a comprehensive plan that allows fans to safely and confidently attend games. The comprehensive health and safety protocols include required pre-arrival health screenings, mandatory mask wearing, physically distanced seating, contactless experience and CDC-recommended cleaning enhancements.


To date, Michigan has administered 6,657,997 vaccines. Currently, 48.8% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with 35.9% percent of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated, moving the state closer to its goal of equitably vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older as soon as possible.