SAMHSA Evaluators Rave About Muskegon’s MYalliance

Officials with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration traveled to Muskegon at the end of August to review the progress of MYalliance System of Care (SOC), a collaboration between youth, families, schools, and other child-serving agencies to better serve youth with complex needs and their families. 

The SAMHSA evaluators were inspired by “visionary leadership across agencies and youth and families” and said their experience in Muskegon was “not their usual site visit.” They noted the exceptional participation of agency partners, systems, family members and youth, and how active and valuable everyone’s participation in the process was. They told the Muskegon eam that this is not common in other communities, and encouraged them to develop presentations for national conferences to share insights about their work, especially in the area of school-based mental health services, community partnerships and a pending partnership with Harvard University on adaptive leadership. 

  In October 2016, Muskegon County received a four-year federal grant from SAMHSA to expand the MyAlliance SOC, which helps youth experience improvements in mental health, school outcomes, substance use, and other areas of life. MYalliance emphasizes collaboration, cultural responsiveness, resilience development, and community engagement. HealthWest, a leader in behavioral health care, serves as the fiduciary of the program’s $4 million federal grant. Its staff also works in key positions integral to the goals of MYalliance, including roles in leadership, wraparound care, school-based services, youth crisis response, parent and youth support, and many others.