Cranberry Stressline

The History of Mason Mental Health Center

by Hal Brown 

(click images to enlarge)

The original staff in 1971
Top row: Mel Scherpinesse, MA; Ben Perri, PhD (Director); Hal Brown, MSW
Bottom row: Mary Louis, MSW; Barb Hollenback and Ellen Martinson; secretaries.


Tom Helma, MA, was the second director

From its inception at the very beginning of the era where public mental health services were generously funded, the Mason Mental Health Center was a barometer of the value government placed on providing high quality outpatient mental health services to people in locations that were easily accessible.

The Mason program itself was a branch office of a much larger program located in Lansing, Michigan. The town of Mason had a population of 5,500, but the rural area it served had a population of over 35,000. We ran clinics in three outlying towns in the corners of the county, and truly brought our services to an underserved population.

Why are these Mason Mental Health staff members smiling?


Click to enlarge (that's me in the striped shirt)

During the heyday of publicly funded mental health our program continued to grow. The staff increased and we moved our building to one with twice the space, and then increased our space there two-fold. We were able to provide service on a sliding fee scale and generally could see clients for as long as they needed therapy. Our paperwork requirements were minimal, and there was no such thing as managed care.

NEXT: Satellite Clinics > Continuing to grow in physical size > Read about our dubious distinction > The Vietnam Veteran's Program > Day Treatment Program > The future fades > Staff from 1971 - 1989

 The Town of Mason, MI