Washtenaw County to launch 24/7 hotline for substance use support on Jan. 1

FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, photo, a man uses a cell phone in New Orleans. As the coronavirus spread across borders early in the pandemic, calls to global helplines showed a striking similarity in the toll on mental health _ from China to Lebanon, Finland to Slovenia. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File) (Jenny Kane)

ANN ARBOR – Washtenaw County Community Mental Health announced on Thursday it will be launching a brand-new 24/7 hotline for residents seeking substance use treatment on Jan. 1, 2022.

By calling 734-544-3050, residents can receive guidance on which services they can be connected to, receive an immediate screening and a referral to a provider based in the community.

Washtenaw County Community Mental Health licensed substance use and mental health professionals will be answering calls on the new hotline.

With the new hotline set up, Washtenaw County will be aligning with other counties in the region who use their community mental health agencies as the primary access point for services dedicated to substance use, including Lenawee, Livingston and Monroe counties.

“It’s important to note that WCCMH will not supplant the county’s core substance use treatment providers,” program administrator for millage services at WCCMH, Lisa Gentz, said in a release. “They will connect callers with the region’s exceptional community based providers -- including Dawn Farm, Home of New Vision, and other providers in our network.”

Director of WCCMH Trish Cortes said the agency expects the change to be a “huge improvement” for individuals seeking treatment for substance use.

“Substance use needs are mental and physical health needs,” Cortes said in a statement. “People who request this support need it as quickly as possible.”

The hope is that the new 24-hour screening process will connect residents who are ready to seek help with services faster than ever before.

“I think Washtenaw County’s move to a single point of access is a big step in the right direction,” peer recovery project coordinator at Michigan Medicine, Tim Shewcraft, said in a statement. “I feel the population is best served by simplifying the process for the many community providers attempting to provide patients with referrals to this much needed care.”

WCCMH reminds residents who are experiencing substance use disorder emergencies to call 911 for urgent help.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.