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Kalamazoo Wins Suicide Prevention Grant

Reena Rose Sibayan
AP Photo

Integrated Services of Kalamazoo has won a new grant to help address teen suicide.

The $75,000 from several nonprofits will be targeted at LGBTQ youth. Dianne Shaffer is ISK's director of systems development.

"Members of the LGBTQ population are more at risk for suicide than many other populations. We wanted to make sure that we were meeting their needs."

Credit Integrated Services of Kalamazoo
Integrated Services of Kalamazoo
ISK officials hold a ceremonial check for the new grant

More than seven thousand people in Michigan took their own lives between 2014 and 2018. And LGBTQ teens are at three times the risk.

Shaffer says some of the the grant will be used to train ISK staff and contractors to better help LGBTQ youth, "So that they have the clinical training that will take them competent and confident in working with the LGBTQ population in order to best meet their needs."

Shaffer says the grant will also allow ISK to hire a new community health worker.

"And that community health worker can assist them in navigating the mental health system, getting connected with the services that they might find helpful. And then they can also assist with accessing other resources in the community, whether it's food, housing, or other basic needs that they might need assistance with."

The suicide prevention hotline in Kalamazoo is (269) 381-HELP operated by Gryphon Place.

The ISK grant is part of a $650,000 initiative by Blue Cross Blue Sheld of Michigan, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Children's Foundation, and the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation. Grants were also awarded to programs in Lansing, Detroit, Dearborn, several counties in the northern Lower Peninsula, and in Calumet in the UP.

Andy Robins has been WMUK's News Director since 1998 and a broadcast journalist for over 24 years. He joined WMUK's staff in 1985. Under his direction, WMUK has received numerous awards for news reporting.