Nine Michigan Organizations Receive Suicide Prevention Funding  

Julie Bitely

| 5 min read

Young man sitting outside
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have been sounding the alarm that a side effect of the virus and accompanying restrictions would almost certainly be worsening mental health outcomes, up to and including increases in suicidal thoughts and death by suicide. Earlier this year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan joined forces with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Children’s Foundation and the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation to offer funding to Michigan-based, non-profit health care providers to implement suicide-prevention interventions that are evidence-based and sustainable. Nine programs were recently awarded grants totaling nearly $650,000, with funding prioritizing populations experiencing health disparities due to income, age, gender identity and ethnic or racial characteristics. Funders worked to ensure grant funding was awarded in each region of the state to maximize impact in a diverse and equitable way. “Suicide is a complex problem that requires innovative, evidence-based solutions to solve,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president, Government, Strategy and Public Affairs at Blue Cross. “The organizations receiving funding are well-positioned to take on this important work in their respective communities. We’re confident these efforts will save lives throughout the state of Michigan and will create sustainable changes to support improved mental health care for some of our most vulnerable populations.” “Through collaborative grant-making, we’ve been able to partner with funders for greater impact on issues like the opioid crisisperinatal opioid use disorder, addressing health care disparities in the Upper Peninsula, and now, preventing suicide,” said Audrey Harvey, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. “Over 7,000 Michiganders died due to suicide from 2014 to 2018. Evidence-based preventive interventions are needed to prevent individuals from dying by suicide and to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts. We’re hopeful that the outcomes of these grants will provide the foundation for the growth of successful interventions throughout the state.”  Organizations receiving suicide prevention grant funding include: Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), Dearborn A $75,000 grant will help ACCESS focus on youth in Wayne Country through Stop the Stigma: Suicide Care at ACCESS Medical Center. Primary care and integrated behavioral health staff will be trained on suicide risk factors, identifying at-risk patients and delivering effective trauma-informed care treatment interventions. Black Family Development, Inc., Detroit Second Stages is a program that will target 500 youth and families with a primary focus on African American boys and young men of color. A $75,000 grant will help the non-profit expand programming that will promote suicide risk reduction through training of clinical and non-clinical staff and the deployment of suicide prevention champions throughout the agency. Child and Family Charities, Lansing Through a $75,000 grant, CFC will expand suicide prevention efforts aimed at the runaway and homeless youth and children and youth in foster care the organization serves. Project Restore Hope will provide a structured framework for helping children and youth who are expressing suicidal thoughts and plans. Therapeutic interventions will help youth develop a therapy plan to meet their needs, including building support within families, developing coping skills and connecting to community resources. Corktown Health Center, Detroit Suicide Prevention at Michigan’s First LGBTQ+ Medical Home will provide integrated medical, behavioral health and social support services. A $75,000 grant will support a therapist-driven intervention approach with patients, as well as enhance training and intervention materials. Institute for Population Health, Inc., Detroit Freedom to Focus Counseling Solutions for Zero Suicide is a new program that will use evidence-based assessment tools known to identify suicide risk among children and adults and close gaps in mental health care delivery. A $75,000 grant will help IPH implement the model at the IPH Community Health Center and in IPH’s school-based health center. Integrated Services of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo A $75,000 grant will enable ISK to implement the Kalamazoo Suicide Prevention Project, aimed at better supporting the needs of the LGBTQ+ population, as well as youth and young adults at risk of suicide. Funding will support efforts to improve rapid follow-up, effective care transition services and collaborative safety planning for the target populations, as well as expand treatment capacity. Mid-Michigan Health Foundation, Midland Staff at six rural health clinics in four counties – Gladwin, Clare, Ogemaw and Gratiot – will receive additional training to recognize and respond to suicide risk in patients. A $75,000 grant will power Suicide Prevention in Rural Health Clinics by screening all patients 12 years and older for depression, anxiety and suicide, as well as provide intervention in the primary care setting, which includes means-restriction counseling, safety planning, short-term targeted counseling and care coordination. Southwest Counseling Solutions, Detroit The Care Team Pilot to Prevent Teen Suicide program focuses on Detroit adolescents, ages 11-21. A $49,824 grant will expand current programming to address death by suicide among youth, based on increasing mental health concerns among southwest Detroit youth. Funding will support training of staff, implementation of the suicide prevention intervention and evaluation of the program. Upper Great Lakes (UGL) Family Health Center, Calumet The Upper Peninsula Suicide Prevention Plan will be deployed in five to 10 cities in which UGL operates. Funding in the amount of $75,000 will enable UGL to provide suicide care training to clinical and nonclinical staff and implement enhanced suicide risk screening for adult and pediatric patients. Additionally, UGL plans to improve care coordination to ensure patients at risk for suicide get the treatment they need in a timely manner through a mix of in-person and virtual care. Related:
Photo credit: Blue_Cutler
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association