A federal grant of $200,000 a year for five years has been granted to Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority to support suicide prevention efforts throughout the county.
The funds are part of a grant totaling nearly $4 million to the Michigan Department of Community Health from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“We are ecstatic about the grant,” said Oakland County Director of Health & Human Services, George Miller.
The Health Division led the establishment of the Suicide Prevention Task Force approximately three years ago.
Participating task force members include the Alliance for Coalition of Healthy Communities, Beaumont Health Systems, Common Ground, Easter Seals Michigan, Oakland Family Services, Oakland Schools, Oakland University, and Training & Treatment Innovations.
“In addition to providing valuable funding for programs and trainings that we know are saving lives, the grant also exemplifies what can be achieved when county leaders and citizens unite. The taskforce started with a request for help from a community that was experiencing tremendous tragedies from deaths by suicide, and has grown into a powerful movement that is changing our county and our state,“ Miller said.
The successful application for the Garrett Lee Smith State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention grant was a joint effort of the Michigan and Oakland County mental health authorities, and the Oakland County Health Division in spring 2014.
OCCMHA Executive Director and CEO Willie Brooks, said, “This grant is the direct result of the supportive partnership that exists between OCCMHA, the Health Division, and DCH in doing all that we can to save lives through suicide prevention.
“We’re grateful to the state for reaching out to Oakland County, and to the Health Division for helping to navigate us through this important public health crisis.”
Successful prevention programs and initiatives implemented by the county’s Suicide Prevention Task Force were instrumental in the grant being awarded to the state, said Brooks.
The Garrett Smith Grant named for the son of Utah Senator, Gordon Smith. His son committed suicide while attending college.
A complete list of substance use service providers is available on OCCMHA’s website. For more information about OCCMHA call (800) 341-2003 or visit www.occmha.org.
— Staff writer Diana Dillaber Murray