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27655 Middlebelt Road, Suite 170, Farmington Hills, MI 48336
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Information and referral line: 248.706.0591 or


AMI Oakland Office
27655 Middlebelt Rd

Suite 170

Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Phone: 248.203.1998

News Media Contact
Fred Cummins, President
Phone: 248.752.3872

Newsletter -

Hope Cummins
Phone: 248.752.6616

Publicity -

Cheryl Patel


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AMI of Oakland CountyEducation
AMI of Oakland County offers education for consumers, family members, providers and the general public. These programs draw on the experience of mental health consumers and family members who have learned to live or are still learning to live with mental illness in their lives and are eager to help others.


General Meeting--Everyone Welcome

In bad weather, please confirm meeting by calling the Information and Referral Line.


Date:  Thursday, July 23, 2015 (Fourth Thursday)


Program Topic: No Meeting This Month

Please join us next month, August 27, 2015 (Fourth Thursday)  


Date:  Thursday, June 25, 2015 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Increasing Challenges to Publically Funded Health Insurance Programs  

Speaker:  Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director, MICHUHCAN

Marjorie Mitchell is a long-time advocate for disability rights and access to health insurance for Michigan families.  She is very knowledgeable about Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). There are considerable changes being explored both in the Federal government and in Michigan. This talk is not only important regarding care for persons with mental illness, but also for those getting health care under the Medicaid expansion or the healthcare exchange under the Affordable Care Act and all of us who rely on Medicare and/or Medicaid for health care in our senior years..


Date:  Thursday, May 28, 2015 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Court-Ordered Treatment Compliance under Kevin's Law  

Speaker:  Mack Hohmann, Court Liaison, Common Ground

Kevin’s Law is the Michigan statute for court ordered outpatient treatment for persons who are mentally ill and have multiple hospitalizations and/or involvement with criminal justice.  We have seen it produce good results.  Mack will tell us about the application of Kevin’s Law in Oakland County and his role in the process.


Date:  Thursday, April 23, 2015 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Advocate for Incentives to Drive a Better Mental Health System  

Speaker:  Fred Cummins, President, Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Oakland County

Most of the people working in the Michigan mental health system became involved to help people with mental illness or developmental disabilities and their families.  Many are themselves family members.  However, when people need help from the mental health system, then timely, adequate and appropriate care may not be forthcoming. 

Why don’t mental health leaders and professionals just do the right thing?  That question was considered in a work group formed as part of Governor Snyder’s Mental Health Commission.  The work group was one formed by Representative Phil Cavanagh who chaired the committee on Mental/Physical Health Integration and Service Delivery.  While the proposal did not meet the required unanimous support of the Commission, we should advocate for these changes. Mr. Cummins will discuss the recommendations of the work group that would help mental health leaders and professionals do the right thing, and drive a better mental health system.


Date:  Thursday, March 26, 2015 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Oakland County's Adult Treatment Court and the Mental Health Component

Speaker:  Heather Willis, M.A. LPC, Adult Treatment Court, Mental Health Liaison, Common Ground

Ms Willis will describe the court program available as a sentence for a criminal conviction of a person with a mental illness and substance abuse in Oakland County. We should be aware of this program in case our family member with mental illness becomes involved with criminal justice.  While the program focuses on persons with substance abuse, we should consider advocating for broader application to persons with mental illness.


Date:  Thursday, February 26, 2015 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Legislative Perspectives on the Public Mental Health System

Facilitator:  State Senator Vincent Gregory, lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee

Senator Gregory will bring us up to date on budgeting activity and other initiatives related to the mental health system.  This is our opportunity to express our concerns about budget cuts and other problems with mental health services experienced by persons with mental illness and their families.  Senator Gregory will help us understand the legislative process and priorities, and how we might advocate for improvements to the mental health system.


Date:  Thursday, December 18, 2014 (Third Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Advocacy Planning for Adequate and Appropriate Mental Health Care Funding

Facilitator:  Fred Cummins, President, AMI Oakland

The recent budget reductions experienced by Oakland County Community  Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA) as well as the CMH organizations of Wayne and Macomb counties have drawn attention to the unmet needs of persons with mental illnesses.  The budget cuts are putting the welfare of some people at risk, and are undermining the quality of life of others.  At the same time, we have many people with mental illnesses who are receiving no mental health services and are living with their families, homeless or in our jails and prisons.


We need to educate legislators and the public regarding the unmet needs for mental health services as well as the potential for persons receiving services to improve their level of functioning and realize a better quality of life.  While some of us may be satisfied with current services, there is a significant risk that those services will be reduced.  In addition, the current quality of our services is very dependent on the specific individuals we happen to have providing those services.

Please join us to clarify our issues and goals, and to discuss strategies for improving the public mental health system and thus the quality of lives of persons with mental illness and their families.


Date:  Thursday, November 20, 2014 (Third Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Oakland County Community Mental Health in Crisis

Moderator:  Fred Cummins, President, AMI Oakland

We need your input. Some of you are aware that Oakland County Community Mental Health is suffering from budget cuts. Some of you have experienced reductions in services.  These cuts will get bigger and are a danger to recipients of mental health services.

Macomb and Wayne County CMHs are suffering from similar cuts.  The consequences of these cuts started in the Fall of 2013, but the initial impact was reduced when OCCMHA used reserve funds to compensate.  Nevertheless, most of the service providers were directed to reduce costs.  You may have seen some of the consequences ranging from reduced staffing and fewer case management visits to discharge of some people from some services.  These reductions in service may have been “justified” as a response to improvement of a person receiving services.

The reductions in 2014 are only the beginning.  The reserve funds are nearly depleted and the budget reductions remain in effect for fiscal year 2015 (starting October 1, 2014).  In addition to the budget cuts, there is an increase in recipients of services due to Medicaid Expansion.  While the Federal government will pay 100% of the Medicaid Expansion, the funding is delayed resulting in an additional, short-term deficit.  Furthermore, the recent increase in the minimum wage has increased the costs of direct care providers without increased funding. Some group home providers are closing group homes because they cannot survive the funding shortfall.

This is an immediate problem for a number of persons with developmental disabilities because they have received notice that their group homes will be closed effective November 1, and they don’t know where they will go.  Some of them have relied on these services for decades.

The full impact of this reduced funding will hit in the 2016 fiscal year, beginning October 1, 2015.  I have given public comment to the OCCMHA Board several times.  I have asked that they provide information on how providers are implementing the funding reductions.  We only hear about some of the consequences since many of our members believe this is only happening to them. Willie Brooks, the new Executive Director, asserts that he is aware of the cuts and implies that they are not adversely affecting recipients.  We are aware of some significant consequences.  We still don’t know what the specific cuts are and how many people are affected. 

We need to hear about the impact from the front lines—that is you who are experiencing service reductions.  Please attend this meeting.  We will try to put together a picture of how these budget cuts are affecting persons with a mental illness and what you can do.  We will try to identify the scope of the changes and those with the most serious consequences as a basis for advocacy with legislators and the Department of Community Health. 

We need your input.  We also would like you to join in the advocacy.

In the meantime, I encourage you to attend the next OCCMHA Board meeting, November 18, 6:00 pm; at the Resource and Crisis Center (Common Ground), in Building 12E in the County Complex.  Just listen or give public comment to express your concerns.


Date:  Thursday, October 23, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Channel 7 TV Series on the Michigan Mental Health System

Speaker:  Ross Jones, Investigative Reporter for Channel 7 News

Mr. Jones has presented a series of Channel 7, TV interviews providing insights on the state of the Michigan public mental health system and the recent budget cuts. He has held excellent interviews with both government leaders and families coping with the mental illness of a family member.  He will share his insights and is interested in hearing experiences and concerns from the audience. This is an opportunity to share your experiences and concerns for attention in future news coverage.


Date:  Thursday, September 25, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: An Overview of Medicaid and Spend-Downs

Speakers:  Belinda Arbogast, Department of Human Services (DHS) District Manager for Oakland County, Walled Lake Office, and Sallie Kuhne, DHS Program Manager for Oakland County Madison Heights Office

Our speakers have extensive knowledge in the area of Medicaid and spend-downs.  Ms. Arbogast has been with the Department of Human Services for 32 years.  Ms. Kuhne has been with the department for 15 years.  Since Medicaid is the primary funder of mental health services in Michigan, this meeting is important to gain an understanding of qualifications for Medicaid, Medicaid-covered services, the changes that have recently occurred and what might be coming.  Bring your questions.


Date:  Thursday, August 28, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Legislative and Administrative Issues Affecting Persons with Mental Illness

Speaker: Mark Reinstein, PhD, President and CEO, Mental Health Association in Michigan)

Dr. Reinstein is active in a number of state-wide advocacy initiatives.  He will discuss current state and national legislation and administrative issues of concern to persons with mental illness and their families.  For example, many people are being affected by budget cuts, some recommendations of Governor Snyder’s mental health commission have been implemented and others have not, and the commission recently completed recommendations on diversion of persons with mental illness from criminal justice.  It is important to understand these issues, particularly in an election year.  Candidates should be challenged to take positions on these issues, and you should consider their answers when you vote.


Date:  Thursday, July 24, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Oakland County Community Mental Health Moving Forward

Speaker: Willie Brooks, New Executive Director, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA)

Mr. Brooks was recently appointed Executive Director of OCCMHA.  As the previous Chief Financial Officer, he comes withan understanding of OCCMHA. He will speak about the challenges he sees in this new position, current issues that will affect persons with mental illness served by OCCMHA, and his vision for OCCMHA in the future.  Tis will also be an opportunity for you to express your concerns.


Date:  Thursday, June 26, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness

Speaker: PBS Video and Open Discussion

This video describes the state of the United States mental health system through a dialog with a number of experts on different aspects of mental illness in the United States.  We will view the video followed by an open discussion of current problems facing persons with mental illness and their families in Oakland County


Date:  Thursday, May 22, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Navigating and understanding mental health issues and care in Michigan's prisons

Speaker: Natalie Holbrook, Program Director, American Friends Service Committee, Michigan Criminal Justice Program

Natalie Holbrook, Program Director, is a prisoner rights advocate.  She has worked for the American Friends Service Committee¹s Michigan Criminal Justice program for eleven years advocating for and with people held in Michigan¹s prisons around a myriad of issues including access to adequate health care and mental health care, conditions of confinement, parole related issues, and solitary confinement.  She has co-authored various reports for public education on prison related issues and self-help information for people in prison.  Natalie has an MA in Social Foundations of Education from Eastern Michigan University.


Date:  Thursday, April 28, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : State Legislative Issues in Health Care and Services for Persons with Mental Illness

Speaker: State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton, 27-th District

Representative Lipton will discuss changes in Michigan health care and the impact on services for persons with mental illness.  The Medicaid expansion will put added demand on Community Mental Health (CMH) at the same time that CMH is experiencing budget cuts.  There is discussion in Lansing of reducing or eliminating general fund dollars for CMH.  Close to half of the individuals with mental illness that CMH are not on Medicaid and are served by general fund dollars.  Cutting these funds will be catastrophic to these people.  This will also violate the mental health code which requires CMH to serve people with mental illness regardless of their ability to pay for services or their Medicaid status.

Representative Lipton represents Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Royal Oak Township, Ferndale and Hazel Park.


Location: OCCMHA Resource and Crisis Center

Conference room at 1200 N. Telegraph Road (county complex), Building 32E

Date:  Thursday, March 27, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Common Ground Overview and New Facility Tour

Speaker: Heather Rae, MA, LLP, Vice President, Programs and Services, Common Ground

Common Ground provides mental heatth crisis intervention and is the gateway to community mental health hospital and community services for persons with mental illness in Oakland County.  Common Ground recently moved to a new, modern facility in the Oakland County complex.  Persons in need of services may be admitted for services at a CMH core agency, they may be admitted for psychiatric hospitalization, or they may be provided intensive services with medical supervision at the new Common Ground site.  Ms Rae will present an overview of Common Ground services and then take participants on a tour of the new facility.

To get to Common Ground, take Telegraph Road to the North intersection of County Center Drive and turn East.  Take the second right, Hospital Drive, to the right.  Building 32E is on the right and parking is on the left.


Date:  Thursday, February 27, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Social Capital: What Is it and Why Do I Care?

Speaker: Amy Smolski, Commonwealth Administrator, Macomb County Community Mental Health

Social capital is the value people obtain from personal relationships with others.  Persons with a mental illness tend to be somewhat isolated, and it is important that we understand their need for relationships and the importance of relationships to a person’s well-being, including their physical and mental health.  Ms Smolski will discuss the nature of social capital, the potential benefits to individuals, and her efforts to incorporate these concepts to improve the lives of persons served by Macomb County Community Mental Health.


Date:  Thursday, November 21, 2013 (Third Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Mental Health Court Legislation--A Case Study in Advocacy

Speaker:  Mark Reinstein, PhD, President and CEO, Mental Health Association in Michigan

Dr. Mark Reinstein will discuss the current status of legislation to establish mental health courts in Michigan and the political process by which this legislation has developed as a result of participation by multiple interest groups. Michigan has had pilot mental health court programs in several counties. These courts conduct special, individualized programs for persons with mental illness who become involved in the criminal justice system.  Legislation will formalize mental health courts as part of the court system.  The goal is help the individual avoid future criminal justice involvement.  Dr. Reinstein's talk will provide insights on the legislation as well as legislative advocacy and how you can participate in efforts to improve the mental health system.


Date:  Thursday, October 24, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: The Affordable Care Act (Obamcare) and You

Speakers:  State Senator Vincent Gregory (District 14) and Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director, MICHUHCAN

October 1 began enrollment for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) for 2014.  In Michigan this includes expansion of Medicaid and opening of the health insurance exchange to provide affordable healthcare for persons who do not have employer-based healthcare.  Senator Gregory and Marjorie Mitchell will describe the changes in healthcare insurance in Michigan, how it will affect you and what action you should take for enrollment.  Please encourage other family members and friends to attend as well, particularly if they do not have employer-based healthcare insurance.


Regular General Meetings are held at Beaumont Hospital Administration Building, Auditorium, 3601 W. Thirteen Mile Road, Royal Oak, Michigan. Free parking is in the lot west of the building or south of the building in the Dr's lot or in the parking deck (entered from the East side). See map.


Everyone is welcome

These educational meetings are typically the fourth Thursday of each month. They are held at the Beaumont Hospital Administration Building. 3601 W. Thirteen Mile Road, Royal Oak, Michigan. In addition to updates on information of concern to families of persons with mental illness, there are speakers that include, psychiatrists, professionals, and service agencies. Refreshments will be available at 7:00 p.m. and the meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. If you have any suggestions for future meeting topics, you can call the AMI Oakland County information and referrals phone.


Educational Outreach/Speakers Bureau

Presentations to civic, religious and professional groups are available on request. Please contact Fred Cummins, President, at for information. These may include talks on nature of mental illness, family experiences, public policy, stigma, the metal health system, etc. We will tailor the presentation to the specific interest and forum.
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