Detroit Evening Report: Mental Health awareness; Warren Evans seeks regional transit ballot proposal and more

Listen to the latest episode of the “Detroit Evening Report” podcast.

On the latest episode of the Detroit Evening Report, we speak with a local Mental Health First Aid instructor about Mental Health Awareness Month and how Detroiters can support others in crisis. Also, we share details about Wayne County Executive Warren Evans’ hope to get regional transit on the November ballot and more.

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Support others with Mental Health First Aid

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports one in every 25 adults live with a serious mental health illness. That includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.

Wayne State social work doctoral student Seth Allard is a Mental Health First Aid instructor who recently held workshops for the WSU community. He says the course teaches people to care for those who are facing a mental health crisis.

“They hear about the topics of mental health or suicide prevention or trauma, and they go, ‘you know, I don’t know if I’m able to handle that, I’m not a mental health professional,'” he said. “You know, you don’t have to be a mental health professional to be of assistance and have and to aid people in your community.”

Allard says in lieu of having enough mental health professionals in the U.S., the courses help bridge a gap for people who might otherwise go untreated. Two million people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid around the world, and it’s a growing movement, he says.

Wayne County transit

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans wants a county-wide transit system on the ballot in November.

The proposal would expand and improve transit for all communities within Wayne County. Many cities in the area — such as Livonia and Canton — have little to no public transportation. Megan Owens, executive director of Transit Riders United, told WDET the proposal would be beneficial to those unable to drive.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people who need ways to get around that don’t involve driving. And unfortunately, some of these local township officials won’t put it on their own ballot,” Owens said. “The county can address it by putting it on the county wide ballot.”

The Wayne County Commission will decide by August whether to place the proposal on the ballot.

Home values rising

Home values in metro Detroit have risen past recession values, though they continue to lag in several communities, The Detroit News reports.

Housing prices are up 40% in Oakland County and 37% in Macomb County, according to recent assessment data. In Hamtramck, home values have increased by 200%, due to the large influx of immigrants. However, in Detroit, Inkster, River Rouge, Ecorse and Pontiac, values continue to be below the pre-housing bubble levels, when predatory sub-prime mortgages decimated homeownership in many Black communities. Detroit officials insist values are higher but even by their estimate, home prices are still below 2007 levels.

The city anticipates surpassing those values in 2025 assessments.

Sam Cooke anniversary

Sixty-five years ago today, Sam Cooke did a week-long residency at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit.

Cooke was a prolific presence in soul and pop music. The Flame Show Bar opened in 1949 on John R and Canfield, 10 years before he worked there. Motown musician Thomas “Beans” Bowles has said that the Flame was often referred to as “Little Las Vegas” because of its impact on the music careers of those who performed there. The 1959 poster promoted “the Great’s first Detroit appearance” and Cooke’s hit “You Send Me.”

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.