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$650,000 Awarded to Suicide Prevention Programs Across Michigan

In the state of Michigan alone, one person dies by suicide every six hours.

In a span of just four years from 2014 to 2018, approximately 7,000 Michiganders died due to suicide.

These sobering statistics underline the increasing need for greater supports to Michiganders who may be at increased risk.

On Monday, May 3, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, along with several partners, recognized the distribution of $650,000 in funding to nine Michigan organizations across the state who are committed to suicide prevention programming in their communities.

For many of the grantees, they emphasized that funding comes at a critical time as providers are seeing increased presentation of suicidal thoughts and attempts, specifically among youth, since the onset of the pandemic. Mona Makki, Director for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), Dearborn, cited that “In the last few months, we have seen a 25% increase in suicidal thoughts and five suicide attempts in our youth population.”

With the grant, ACCESS has implemented a new program that expands screenings of increased risk factors and trained all clinical staff in the Question, Persuade, Respond (QPR) method.

“I know that [this funding] is going to help save lives,” Makki said.

In addition to Access Dearborn, the other eight grant recipients are:

  • Black Family Development, Inc., Detroit
  • Child and Family Charities, Lansing
  • Corktown, Detroit
  • Institute for Population Health, Detroit
  • Integrated Services of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo
  • MidMichigan Health Foundation, Midland
  • Southwest Counseling Solutions, Detroit
  • Upper Great Lakes (UGL) Family Health Center, Calumet

Blue Cross and the BCBSM Foundation collaborated with the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Children’s Foundation, and the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation to establish the Suicide Prevention Support for Health Care Clinics Working with Michigan’s Health-Disparate Populations initiative.

“We believe, along with our partners, that evidence-based, preventative programs are needed to decrease the rate of suicide deaths and attempts by identifying those who may be at risk for suicide, while also addressing their needs for appropriate medical, social and behavioral services,” Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation stated.

She also emphasizes the need for work that is focused on populations that are experiencing health disparities based on factors such as income, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, racial and ethnic characteristics.

“These grantees are accomplishing this very important work in their communities across the state.”

The recipients of suicide prevention grants on a recent video call.

The recipients of suicide prevention grants on a recent video call.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-273-TALK. If you are under 21, you can ask to talk a peer at Teen Link or call directly at 866-8336546. If you are a TTY user, you can use your preferred relay services or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255. If you feel like you need someone to talk to but do not feel like talking on the phone, try texting “Hello” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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