Water Equity Clearinghouse

Genesee Health System

Genesee County, MI

Genesee Health System (GHS) is the public mental health provider for nearly 1,000 residents of Genesee County. For more than 50 years, GHS provides services and programs for individuals with serious mental illness, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders. GHS uses evidence-based practices to incorporate the best standards of care possible and to improve an individual’s health holistically.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

GHS addresses a much-neglected aspect of the Flint Water Crisis: the mental health impacts of water stress. They offer a hotline to help individuals affected by the crisis find services they need, such as medical care, lead testing and risk assessments, educational programs, mental health care, benefit enrollment, nutrition and food support, transportation assistance, housing assistance, childcare, personal and family resistance coaching, and more.

The Mobile Mental Health Unit is also available to residents who wish to access counseling, a play room for children, help dealing with stress, anxiety and worries, help finding resources in the community for personal and family needs, and help for parents dealing with children’s health, mental health, or difficult behaviors. The Mobile Unit moves from place to place in order to give access to as many people as possible.

GHS also supports three HELP centers around Flint that serves as resource distribution sites for lead-fighting foods and produce, physical and mental health services, personal care items, bottled water, filters, replacement cartridges, and resource packets with informational material about additional services and events related to the Flint Water Crisis.

In addition to in-person care, GHS also has online support system called My Flint Strong. The website was created by psychological trauma expert, Dr. Charles Benight, and has been deployed as a community response for similar incidents around the country.

Finally, the GHS website lists a number of other resources that distribute resources for residents experiencing health problems, physical and mental, as a result of the water crisis.