TACTIC: Research
CLIENT: Clinton, Eaton, Ingham Community Mental Health Authority
AGENCY: Edge Partnerships


Objectives & Methodology

Clinton, Eaton, Ingham Community Mental Health (CMH) retained the services of Edge Partnerships, LLC, (Edge) to conduct both quantitative and qualitative research to better understand awareness among key stakeholders. The research provided the foundation data necessary to effectively embark on a rebranding initiative in 2013. Edge CEO Lorri Rishar, MBA, worked in partnership with CMH staff to develop questions for an online survey. To minimize survey costs, Edge utilized SurveyMonkey to build the survey and capture results. Between Sept. 23 and Oct. 14, SurveyMonkey recorded 224 respondents who started the survey, and 210 who completed it, for a response rate of 20.6%.

In addition to the quantitative survey, Edge conducted four (4) focus group meetings on Oct. 28-29, 2013, in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties. The groups were comprised of a total of 31 consumers, agency partners, staff and other stakeholders.  Each group lasted approximately 1 hour in length and responded to the same general questions regarding awareness, preference and communication.


Audiences/Research Participants

CMH staff, administrators and board members
Consumer of CMH services
Agency employee
School system employee
Family member of CMH consumer
Michigan Department of Corrections
Law enforcement
Housing services employee
Contract provider
Healthcare provider or employee
Judge/judicial system employee
Michigan Dept. of Community Health
Children welfare agency
Community partner



Overall, CMH is widely recognized by its stakeholders who understand the funding challenges facing the region’s largest provider of mental health, developmentally disability and substance abuse services. While CMH is well known for its mental health services, it is less recognized for the array of additional services that fall outside of mental health. The least known services among CMH offerings are those for children and those with mild to moderate emotional disturbances.

Most respondents have had a longer term relationship with CMH, with more than 64% involved for more than five years. When asked in both the qualitative and quantitative research if CMH was meeting all the needs of the community, more than 43% responded it did not. With this response, however, comes the belief that lack of funding is the reason for this and not the shortcomings of the CMH itself.

CMH was clearly the preference (74.5%) when respondents indicated where they would refer someone for mental health services. When asked, however, who they prefer for similar services, the percentage dropped to 41.6%, with 30.7% preferring a private psychologist or psychiatrist. More than 19% said they did not know who they preferred for mental health services.

In the area of CMH communication medians, respondents overall prefer email, with traditional mail, in person and phone following. Cross-tab analysis was markedly different for consumers, who prefer in-person communication, phone calls and mail as a means to receive information from CMH.

Finally, when asked about the name of the organization, participants generally agree that the name does reflect the services offered but only as they apply to mental health. There was a general call to change the name to better reflect all the services, especially developmental disability programs.