- Arabic-Speaking Parent Mentor (Statewide) Part-time position, 20 hours per week, $22 per hour Must live in Michigan
- Regional Parent Mentor- Central Part-time position, 30 hours per week, $22 per hour Must live in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, or Shiawassee County
- Regional Parent Mentor- Genesee County (was Flint specific, now open to whole county)Part-time position, 36.5 hours per week, $22 per hour (was 20 hours per) Must live in Genesee County
- Regional Parent Mentor- Northeast Part-time position, 24 hours per week, $22 per hour Must live in Alcona, Alpena, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Iosco, Montmorency, Otsego, or Presque Isle County
- Regional Parent Mentor- Southern Oakland County Part-time position, 24 hours per week, $22 per hour Must live in Oakland County
- Regional Parent Mentor- West Part-time position, 24 hours per week, $22 per hour Must live in Lake, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, or Oceana County
ACMH is currently accepting applications for a full time Youth Peer Support Lead Trainer.
Download the complete job description here: YPS Lead Trainer Position
Or visit the ACMH job opportunities page to learn more today.
Resumes will be accepted through September 29, 2023 and should be sent to Sara Reynolds, YPS Statewide Coordinator at [email protected]
New Director of ACMH Turns Tragedy into Purpose
For Carla Pretto, the new executive director of the Association for Children’s Mental Health, the organization’s mission is truly personal.
The statewide family-run organization (and Flinn Foundation grantee), which was founded in 1989 by two moms, focuses on helping Michigan children get access to emotional, behavioral and mental health services and support. The need for those services – particularly for children – is something that Pretto has experienced personally.
In 2017, Pretto was working as an infectious diseases researcher when one of the worst things a parent can imagine happened. Her 13-year-old daughter, Taylor, died by suicide. Taylor had suffered from depression for years, but it was often masked by her desire to please everyone. Like many kids, social and academic pressure compounded her feelings of helplessness.
“Her depression got in the way of her seeing how important she was to everyone who loved her, how needed she was, and how what she was feeling in that moment didn’t have to be her ‘forever,’” Pretto says.
It’s a feeling Pretto understood and experienced herself in the aftermath of her daughter’s death.
“I had those feelings of not wanting to be here, of not being sure I could make it through,” she says. “If I didn’t have my other children, I don’t know that I would have been able to get help and push through. Life had to go on for them.”
And life went on for Pretto too, but with a new calling.
She pivoted from her career as a scientist and enrolled in a registered nurse program. Her goal was to use her experience and knowledge to somehow make a difference in the lives of youth like Taylor.
Early on, she became aware of the ACMH and the work they did to help local families who were struggling with mental health challenges. She’d worked with Jane Shank, the ACMH’s previous executive director, and thought, “that’s my goal job.”
Pretto pivoted from her nursing degree to a position as a psychiatric nurse. She had her eye on completing her Ph.D. while immersing herself in the realities of patient needs. The work was challenging and rewarding. She enjoyed making a difference in small ways, working with families one-on-one. But when she found out that Shank was stepping down as executive director of ACMH, no one was surprised that she jumped at the chance to realize her dream job.
“My co-workers said, ‘we know you weren’t going to stay here. You need to do big things.’”
And that’s exactly what she has planned.
She’s not diving in and reinventing the already laudable work the ACMH and its staff does, she says. She knows that the role they have working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on statewide training for its Parent Support and Youth Peer Support projects is critical and consuming.
She knows that the ACMH, like everyone working in the mental health space, needs more resources to do more work in a community that’s greatly in need.
“We’re well-funded, but the need is so great. We need to have more staff to do more trainings across the state,” Pretto says.
For now, though, she’s focused on developing ACMH’s key management staff to make sure they feel fully supported in their leadership roles. She says she relies heavily on them and wants to learn what they need to continue to excel in their jobs. That support will mean the ACMH can help more Michigan families.
Already, she has some ideas for the future, though.
She has her sights set on partnering with the MDHHS on creating a crisis toolkit and developing de-escalation techniques that can be taught to families and inform providers of the needs of families that have experienced crisis. That important work will be informed by families with lived experience, she notes. And thanks to her research background, she’s itching to get more data on the population in need of ACMH’s services, such as their social determinants of health. She wants an independent review of the organization’s diversity and how it can best interact with a diverse population of families.
“The issue of mental health affects everyone equally, but the help and services are not available or utilized by everyone equally. That has to change.”
For Pretto, the dream isn’t just to lead the ACMH in its mission.
“I wish this wasn’t my story, that my daughter had not completed suicide,” she says. “But my job now is to help prevent that from being the story of other youth like Taylor, of other families like mine.”
To read more about other ACMH staff highlights check out our ACMH in Action Page today!
Click here to read the September 1st edition of the Children’s Mental Health Network Friday Update.
ACMH is pleased to share links to the Children’s Mental Health Network Friday Update. The Children’s Mental Health Network is a national network bringing together the voices of children’s mental health. Each Friday Update brings the latest news in children’s mental health, a Morning Zen Blog post and featured resources of interest to families and professionals alike.
Enjoy the read!
The Stay Well team has been busy preparing materials to help with the return to school and is excited to share fall happenings with you! Please check out their informational documents and workshop flyers and links below:
Stay Well Fall Workshop Series
Series starts again September 9th. Flyer
Four in 10 teens report they feel “persistently sad or hopeless,” according to a recent CDC survey. If you know a teenager struggling with these feelings, we hope you’ll share this with them. “Staying Well” is a series of four workshops designed to help teens cope with strong emotions, manage relationships, and find meaning and purpose in their lives.
Learn more and register at https://tinyurl.com/3wd5xztb.
Series starts again Monday, August 28. Flyer
Grief is a natural reaction to loss, but it can bring a confusing tangle of emotions. Learn more about grief and how to cope with it in this workshop led by clinical mental health counselor Zeinab Moussa.
Series starts August 29. Flyer
In this new Stay Well series, learn how the pandemic ramped up addictive behaviors and find new paths to healing.
Register at https://tinyurl.com/2z4dnfsn.
Stay Well is a crisis counseling program administered by behavioral health professionals at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in partnership with the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) and Gryphon Place. It is supported by state and federal funding.
We are excited to announce that the Association of Children’s Mental Health will be holding our first back-to-in-person Youth Leadership Camp on Saturday, October 14, 2023! This free event will be an opportunity for youth and young adults between the ages of 15-20 with personal experience with a mental health or behavioral challenge to learn about how they can use their voices in a leadership capacity.”
This camp will provide youth and young adults an opportunity to connect with others across the state who are interested in getting involved in advocacy efforts and learn skills to speak out on issues that affect young people with mental health or behavioral challenges. A hike is also built into this event as a way for participants to spend time together, get in touch with nature, and enjoy the fall colors!
Where: Chippewa Nature Center, 400 S Badour Rd, Midland, MI 48640
When: Saturday, October 14, 2023
Who: Youth ages 15-20 with personal experience with a mental health or behavioral challenge
Why: An opportunity to –
- Build leadership skills
- Make friends
- Discuss mental health
- Make a difference
- Spend time in nature
- And use your voice
How to Apply:
Applications due by September 29, 2023. Applications can be submitted by filling out the digital form here:https://forms.gle/2vLjUNeBXK72dE7n8
For questions and more information, please contact Sara Reynolds at [email protected] or 517-643-3544.
ACMH is currently accepting applications for a part-time Family Crisis Training Specialist.
Download the complete job description here: Family Crisis Training Specialist
Or visit the ACMH job opportunities page to learn more today.
Resumes will be accepted until Friday, September 1st and can be sent to:
ACMH Executive Director Carla Pretto at [email protected]
Join Michigan Alliance for Families for a series of FREE webinars for parents of children with IEPs as we get ready to head back to school.
Return to Schools Webinar Dates and Topics Include:
August 9 – Planning Your Child’s Return to School with Amy Croff, Nicole Miller, and Kris Moore
A discussion on embracing change as we return to a new school year. We will discuss:
- Planning for returning to school with new challenges
- Understanding how to build for success
- Tools for communication and making positive relationships
August 16 – Heading to Preschool with an IEP with Kelsey Biswanger, Esmina Hamzagic, and Victoria Martinez
This discussion will give parents a better understanding of the different preschool options available when their child has an IEP, and who they can turn to for more support or questions about their child. Topics will include:
- What is an Individualized Education Program and the importance of individualization
- Preschool options
- The Least Restrictive Environment and the benefits of inclusion
- Building your community in the preschool realm
August 23 – Level Up: What to Consider for Your Student When Moving to Middle or High School with Andrea Beachnau, Sherry Kenworthy, and Amanda Thielen
A conversation on how to support your student as they face new challenges including a new building, new schedule, new staff, and increased responsibility and course work.
- Providing tips to prepare for the transition prior to the start of school
- Understanding how to build supports and relationships for more success during the school year
- Planning for the future in school and beyond
August 30 – Your New SPIN on the School Year with Sally Beauchamp, Joyce Dearhamer, and Karen Wang
High school is all about making decisions to prepare for your future. Join us for this workshop about decision-making processes and making sure your opinions are heard. We will cover:
- What Self-Determination is and how it affects you
- How to use your strengths, preferences, interests and needs to get the most out of high school
- Finding ways to advocate for yourself
- Making everyday decisions
All webinars take place on Wednesdays, 12pm to 1pm.
Attend the entire series or choose just the ones that interest you most.
Can’t make it at noon? Recordings will be streamed to Facebook Live at 7pm the same day. Join the chat: facebook.com/MichiganAllianceForFamilies
Recordings will be available shortly after on our YouTube channel.
ACF and the Substance Abuse and Mental Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will be hosting a free virtual training: Family and Caregiver Access to Resources on Anxiety and Depression in Children and Youth this Wednesday, July 19th from 6 – 7 p.m. ET for parents, caregivers, and families about children’s mental health.
This free, virtual training will focus on anxiety and depression in children and adolescents. Spanish interpretation will be offered live during this training and certificates of attendance will be available.
Click here to register.
PriSMM is interested in identifying the suicide prevention activities that are occurring in your community or organization and would greatly appreciate your input through the survey link included below:
- Community Scan Survey Link: https://umichumhs.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bdwZ7ZTZNZO7YX4
- Survey Deadline: Monday July 17th at 5 pm
The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. Those who complete the survey and choose to include their email will be entered into a drawing for one of several $50 gift cards. Your responses will remain anonymous even if you choose to enter the lottery drawing.
Please feel free to contact Cindy Ewell Foster, Ph.D., the lead evaluator for the grant, at [email protected] if you have any questions.
Thank you in advance for your time and valuable input!
This survey opportunity was shared by:
Transforming Youth Suicide Prevention Program Injury & Violence Prevention Section, MDHHS