Community Mental Health offers residents hope

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” — Aristotle Onassis

They are your family, friends, relatives, and coworkers, and they come from all walks of life. Some are smiling and appear self-confident, others do not. They have mental illness and/or special needs.

Mental illness impacts one in five people. At one time those who had a mental illness were placed in institutions, but, years ago, according to Mary Swift, Pathways CEO, “There was a major shift from institutions to the relocation of patients into their own communities, where they would receive similar services.” As a result, Pathways Community Mental Health was created. Its mission:

We serve and empower people with severe mental illnesses, severe emotional disturbances, or developmental disabilities to enhance their quality of life.

No one is turned away from the Michigan CMH system because of ability to pay; private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or indigent with no insurance at all.

The cornerstones of the mission of Community Mental Health are as follows:

≤ All information is highly confidential and will not be shared without written consent.

≤ Pathways personnel will make recommendations. It is up to the client to follow through.

≤ Services center on what is important to each individual.

The Admission Process

≤ NorthCare Network Access Service (1-888-906-9060) – There will be a phone screening lasting 10 to 15 minutes.

≤ The phone screening determines the next steps. The screener may refer the caller to another provider.

≤ If NorthCare determines qualification, an appointment is made within 14 days.

≤ In an emergency, timelines are waived; services and support are immediately available.


Mary Swift tells us, “Treatment and therapy are flexible to meet the needs of the person. It is designed to be person-centered so that individuals can be as independent as possible.”

The following of some of the services offered to clients:

≤ Residential Services (Group Homes)

≤ Community Inpatient (Hospitalization)

≤ Therapy Services (Individual or Group)

≤ Case Management (Clinicians/Social Workers Assistance)

≤ Psychological Services

≤ Self-Determination Plan

Medication is sometimes necessary, but it is not the only therapy. Jenny Ware, RN tells us, “Too many are expecting more out of medicine than it can provide. Medicine works in tandem with therapy and lifestyle changes.”


The staff at Pathways stands ready to help, night and day, from the CEO to the clinicians. The staff must possess the vital human emotion known as empathy. Alfred Adler says: “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.”


Pathways staff have established a collaborative network with Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security, Lakestate Industries, group homes, law enforcement, and the judicial system.

The Future

Pathways Community Mental Health covers Delta, Marquette, Alger, and Luce counties. Last year, they served 2,000 clients and made a difference in many lives.

When asked what one thing that they could change, the first response was funding – additional funding for programs to meet the ever-increasing demand in our communities.