You’re not as visible as you think.

Most treatment and support programs are invisible to their communities.

A suburban police captain recently commented at a training event that he would welcome consultation with a local community mental health center when his officers encounter a person with mental illness.

Except they can’t, he said, because there aren’t any mental health services in his suburb.

Guess what? A large community mental health center (that claims to have over 10,000 client contacts a year) is located on the same street, less than a block away from the captain’s police station office.

A woman from Detroit contacted NTAP last week. She is looking for a mental health or substance use treatment program where she and her church group might be able to help out, as volunteers.

Guess what? They haven’t been able to find one!

Mind you, they haven’t simply failed to find a program that would let them volunteer. No, they haven’t been able to find any mental health or substance use programs anywhere in Michigan.

There’s useful feedback in these stories.

If an experienced police captain believes there are no mental health services in his community, despite a large mental health center down the block from his office, how will their potential clients find them?

If a group of motivated volunteers can’t find any substance abuse or mental health treatment programs anywhere in Michigan, how will their potential clients find them?

All of us in this field need to work harder at being accessible to people who need what we offer. The first step is to become more visible.

We all need to do a much better job of this. You can start by getting your services listed in the National Treatment and Support Directory today.

And keep following us! In the coming months, we’ll run a series of articles about ways to become more visible, and consequently more accessible, in your community.