Since 2007, Michael Drummond has led Arundel Lodge, the mental health and substance abuse nonprofit, helping the Edgewater organization expand its services to children, adults and families across Anne Arundel County.
Drummond is set to retire in June after working in public service since 1989. Arundel Lodge’s board of directors has initiated a nationwide search to find his replacement.
During his time at Arundel Lodge, Drummond added job placement services to the nonprofit’s programming and helped it obtain certification as a community behavioral health center. That allowed it to help anyone who requested care for mental health and substance abuse, regardless of their ability to pay, where they lived or their age.
“What I will miss the most is the teamwork here,” the 68-year-old Drummond said. “We have a wonderful team of people who are committed to the mission of helping people. I will also miss the community we serve. It has been a truly special experience for me here.”
Arundel Lodge offers a wide array of outpatient services, including psychiatric screening and assessments, in-person and telehealth sessions, therapy and peer support programs. It also assists those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
In 2008, soon after Drummond arrived, Arundel Lodge adapted its goals to help patients better prepare to get jobs in a competitive marketplace. The facility created an evidence-based employment program with assistance from the University of Maryland. The only criteria was that someone had to have a serious mental issue and wanted to work. Fifteen years later, that program has been a great success, Drummond said.
“If you ask persons with serious mental illness, do they want to work, 70% of them would say yes,” he said. “They don’t want a sheltered workplace they want to go out and get hired for a competitive job and have a chance to be good at it.”
Before Arundel Lodge, Drummond’s career mostly focused on youth services. After graduating from the University of Maryland and Georgetown, the Long Island, New York, native served as a director of various outreach programs at the University of Baltimore that focused on patients who were homeless. After that assignment he worked as core services agency director in Harford County.
Since his arrival, another Arundel Lodge program, the Open Eye Gallery, has helped patients tap into their creative side.
Artwork sold through the gallery directly benefits artists by offering them a way to make money and access art materials. Much of the artwork produced in the program is for sale. Artists keep 80% of the proceeds to supplement their income, while 20% goes to the program to replenish supplies. An art exhibit showcasing works by Arundel Lodge patients is set to open Feb. 19 at Quiet Waters Park.
“One of the most amazing things is seeing patients come in and be very much against trying to draw or paint and after a few weeks of it fall completely in love,” said Anita Hogan, gallery director at Arundel Lodge.
Arundel Lodge has also partnered with Luminis Anne Arundel Medical Center to establish an intake office at the hospital. Having workers immediately connect with people in need is critical, Drummond said, calling it “urgent care for mental illness and substance abuse.”
“A lot of times going to the ER for a mental issue or substance abuse isn’t really helpful for people,” he said. “They need more help, they need to be checked in on in order to navigate their issues. Having an intake office on site at the hospital just allows us a chance to help the community quickly.”
Drummond’s impact on the more than 150 staff members has been immense, said Julie Seaman, an Arundel Lodge nurse practitioner.
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“He is Arundel Lodge,” Seaman said. “He’s very important to everyone both faculty and patient. He is a caring person plus he knows just about everything that happens within all of the programs’ daily and weekly operation.”
Drummond expects to enjoy retirement, but said he believes he will end up doing some consulting in the future.
“I’m 68 now, so I hope to have more time obviously to spend with my family and to pursue other interests,” he said. “I often say that the Arundel Lodge runs me instead of the other way around.”