Child psychiatrist hired in Rogers City

ROGERS CITY — A child psychiatrist has been hired by the Northeast Michigan Community Mental Health Authority.

Dr. Anastasia Banicki-Hoffman is now housed in the Rogers City office of the authority, said Director Cathy Meske.

Meske noted the new hire during the annual report to the Presque Isle County Board of Commissioners last week.

“This has always been a difficult position to fill,” Meske said. “We’ve always had to contract with different providers. Now, we are blessed to have Dr. Hoffman working for Northeast.”

Northeast has a had a very good year this year, she said.

“Our budget is fairly stable. The past year, we received a performance indicator that we met indicators as stated by the State of Michigan and received a monetary amount for fiscal year 2017. We’re going to be using that to enhance our services,” Meske noted.

She said 300 Presque Isle County residents were served by the authority in the last year.

That is out of 2,219 total people served, including 1,421 adults with serious mental illness, 414 children and 384 people with developmental disabilities.

She said they had a public hearing in 2016 to discuss the community’s interest in mental health needs and interests.

“As a result of that, we prioritize needs,” Meske said. “That was to develop a trauma-informed community, improve emergency response jail services and assisted outpatient treatment, to increase autism services, and to increase suicide prevention for youth, adults and veterans and increase substance-abuse service.”

As a result of the update, the authority increased its mental health first aid classes, added a social worker into the Alpena school system, participated in a trials initiative that teaches students on how to be more mindful. They also worked with the community members on the effects of trauma.

“That is a specific course of treatment. This year alone, we provided 51 community members with mental health first aid and 35 youth mental health first aids. We’re really making an effort to do more community presentations,” Meske said.

She added they’ve tried to work on their partnerships with other organizations like Partners in Prevention.

County Commissioner Stephen Lang asked about substance abuse services.

“It’s mostly opioid issues right now,” he said. “Is there any thought given to alcoholism? I know that’s a huge problem with young people.” Meske said they continue to offer alcohol abuse services, but their focus is on opioid abuse services.

Jordan Spence can be reached at jspence@thealpenanews.com or 989-358-5687.