Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — When the pandemic hit, a report released by Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services predicted a 32% increase in statewide suicide rates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suicide is already a prominent issue, it is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2018, a CDC report found suicide rates increased 25 percent across the United States over nearly two decades. Here in Michigan, it was worse, there was an increase of 33 percent.
Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death.
As a result of the growing concern of suicide as a public health concern, several Michigan organizations have come together to make $575,000 available for health care providers to develop solutions that address the issue.
Five organizations have released a request for proposal to health care clinicians and behavioral health specialists to develop projects that will decrease the rate of suicide attempts and deaths by identifying children and/or adults who may be at risk.
The funding is available through a collaboration between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation, and The Children’s Foundation. “Suicide is a mental health crisis in our country, as it’s increased by 35 percent over the past 11 years,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy, Government and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
This funding opportunity will support up to 12 Michigan based organizations to implement sustainable, evidence-based suicide prevention practices, with grant amounts ranging from $50,000 to a maximum of $75,000. Programs that focus on population groups experiencing health disparities due to income, age, gender identity and ethnic or racial characteristics are encouraged.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. The number for the Crisis line is 1-800-273-8255.