Mental health concerns for women on the rise

Mental health concerns for women on the rise


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Michigan women have higher mental health concerns than the national average, according to a new report. Local health officials are trying to lower the barriers to treatment.

The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, reported that the number of women between the ages of 18 to 44 in Michigan who report having frequent mental distress jumped to more than 25% in 2021, compared to 18% just five years earlier.

The national average for frequent mental distress among women for that same time period was 21%.

Marnie Leavitt, executive director of the Women’s Center of Southeast Michigan, told the Michigan News Connection in a recent article that social media and ease of access to information have led to an overall uptick in anxiety and depression — and a world in turmoil isn’t helping.

“People feel helpless and more aware of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the new war in the Middle East,” she said, “in which we have a great awareness that the primary victims of those conflicts are women and children.”

The UHF report also noted women in Michigan are more likely to suffer from multiple chronic conditions or use illicit drugs than most other states.

Teal Lake Residential is a program in Negaunee that offers withdrawal management and residential treatment, with the length of stay based on medical necessity.

“It’s kind of an intensive opportunity for them to receive substance-use disorder treatment,” Senior Director of Clinical Services Jessica Murawski said. “(Clients) learn about recovery options for themselves. They get therapy, they do group and individual therapy, but there’s also a community aspect in living with the other women that are here.”

Women seeking treatment at Teal Lake Residential are able to bring their children up to age 11 with them. Murawski said this is an effort to reduce barriers to access to care due to women oftentimes being the caregivers and providers for their families.

“There’s quite a bit of evidence that indicates that when you’re treating the woman, you’re also treating the family,” she said. “So being able to incorporate the child in that process really opens up a lot of doors. While they’re here, they can learn to take those next steps together as a family.”

Clients from the Teal Lake Residential facility anonymously answered questions about what brought them to the treatment center.

One client said she sought help at TLR because her substance use was getting out of hand.

“I want to be better for my daughter,” she said.

The client said treatment has helped her to better cope with her negative thoughts and feelings. She said resources such as Teal Lake Residential are beneficial because she “doesn’t feel so alone in the world.”

Another client said she has been struggling with alcoholism for the last decade and had been a client of Great Lakes Recovery Center previously.

“I was lucky to go to the new facility for this in-patient stay,” she said. “Teal Lake Residential has been helpful for me by shaking up the usual routine of treatment.”

She said the new facility has groups and material with a “fresh new spin.”

Women, or anyone, experiencing suicidal thoughts can contact the 24-hour crisis line at Pathways, a mental health service in Marquette, by calling 1-888-PATHWAYS or 1-888-728-4929.

Angela Reamer of Pathways said in an email that individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts can also go to their local emergency department to receive further evaluation on their overall safety.

“The protocol for treatment depends on each individual’s needs, regardless of age, when it comes to mental health services. If a person is experiencing suicidal thoughts, the protocol is the same for any age group,” she said. “Individuals who experience difficulties with accessing resources in the community can lead to more stress, which can lead to an increase in mental health issues.”

“Addiction is a terrible epidemic and disease in this country — especially here in the Upper Peninsula. So many people don’t get the treatment they need and it is imperative that we keep increasing the number of facilities and programs for those at risk,” a Teal Lake Residential client said. “The best time to get someone into treatment is when they call but, unfortunately, the wait time can be a week or more to get into a facility, so these programs are definitely needed.”

For more information or admission to Teal Lake Residential, visit greatlakesrecovery.org/teal-lake-residential or call 906-228-9696.

Dreyma Beronja can be reached at 906-228-2500 ext. 548. Their email address is dberonj@miningjournal.net.


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