How people are making mental health a priority and why it’s so important

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DETROIT – Dr. Brandi Pritchett-Johnson is a psychologist and owner of the Diane Morgan Group at Southfield. She sees clients for all kinds of reasons.

“From the experience of losing a loved one that we talked about today,” she said. “Significant life change, whether it’s work or school, relationship change, divorce, separation, abandonment, parental incarceration. My favorite, the pursuit of fulfillment.

“Normalize that mental health is part of our humanity,” Pritchett-Johnson said.

Detroit Public Schools provide access to counselors and therapy

Thanks to COVID funding, every school in the Detroit Public Schools Community District provides students with counseling and individual or group therapy. This represents 82 schools and nearly 50,000 students and their families.

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“We know that a human being, whether a child or an adult, is much more than their physical body or their academic interests,” said Alycia Merriweather of the DPSCD. “A person’s behavioral health and mental health are part of who they are.”

If the district doesn’t come up with at least $5 million soon, the money to continue services will run out by June of next year.

“If the child’s problems stem from a family problem or if maybe the family is a big part of the child working on their problem and we’re not dealing with the family, we can’t really not help this child grow the way it should,” Merriweather said. “I understand the cliff is coming and somehow we will have to figure out what we will do to move forward.”


“A person’s behavioral health and mental health are part of who they are”


The need for mental health services is so great at the school level that Maya Cobb, the owner of Complete Clarity, said she had to change the focus of her tutoring business.

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“It’s been a battle with the parents to help them try to figure out that yes, we want to focus on the academics, but if we also manage that part, we get that better experience,” Cobb said.

Cobb went back to school and is now a licensed therapist, working on her doctorate. to help students she sees beyond education.

The story of Chantell Phillips

Chantell Phillips cries when she talks about her late mother.

His mother died four years ago of cancer. Phillips is still dealing with that pain.

“I never really talked about it,” she said. “This is really the first time I’ve really sat down and talked about it. Already.”

Her mother was her best friend and her loss left a huge void.

“Everything was difficult. I felt like I had no one to talk to,” Phillips said. “I felt like I was nobody. I just felt alone.

Eventually, these feelings overwhelmed her and she realized she needed help.

“I saw a therapist my freshman year of college and I saw one because I was crying every day. I was literally going through it. I was in the cafeteria crying,” Phillips said .

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For students like Phillips, therapy has made all the difference. She still misses her mother every day, but things are looking up.

“I’m fine, I’m fine, like I’m mentally fine,” Phillips said. “I’m still going through this.”

She will be graduating from college next year.

The story of Joshua Vallez

The story of Josue Vallez is different. He struggles against family pressure to succeed as a first-generation college student. For him, seeing a therapist is not so easy.

“I improved, definitely,” Vallez said. “I feel like we’ve all been through our fair share of hardships and dangerous roads.”

“At first it was like the general stigma of ‘oh, you don’t need to see a therapist. Just work your 12-14 hour shift. It will be fine. Go to the gym! Go for a walk,” Vallez said.

Even opening up to a stranger and trusting them to keep your personal affairs private was scary.

Therapy is not a one-session solution. Some people go through a few sessions, others for years. It’s yours.

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As for Vallez, he overcame the fear and plans to start seeing a therapist soon.

He will graduate from college next year.

The nation faces a shortage of therapists

The cost of a therapy session varies and may depend on insurance.

There is a shortage of therapists right now. Doctors Local 4 spoke to are struggling to meet the needs of clients looking to book appointments.

To contact the Diane Morgan Group, visit this site.


If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. Help is available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for assistance at 800-273-8255. Click here to find Crisis Lines in counties near you.

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