Suicide Prevention Among LGBTQ Youth and Adults in Kalamazoo County Focuses on $ 75,000 Grant
KALAMAZOO, MI – A $ 75,000 grant will help Kalamazoo Integrated Services in its efforts to prevent suicide among the LGBTQ population.
Integrated Services of Kalamazoo, formerly known as Kalamazoo Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, was one of nine organizations to receive $ 650,000 in suicide prevention grants, according to a press release from the organization. .
The Suicide Prevention Support for Health Care Clinics Working with Michigan’s Health-Disparate Populations initiative is offering grants to develop programs to reduce the rate of suicide attempts and deaths, the statement said. The program aims to identify children or adults who may be at risk and address their needs for appropriate medical, social and behavioral services.
More than 7,000 Michigan residents died by suicide between 2014 and 2018, the statement said. Organizations that focus on populations with health disparities due to income, age, gender identity, and ethnic and racial characteristics were encouraged to apply.
A study of youth in grades 7 to 12 found that LGBTQ youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jeff Patton, CEO of Kalamazoo Integrated Services, said suicide and suicidal ideation rates among LGBTQ youth and adults are “massively higher” than those among non-LGBTQ people in Kalamazoo County.
Among those served by ISK, 68% of those who are LGBTQ youth reported having had thoughts of suicide at some point in their life, Patton said. This is compared to 32% for non-LGBTQ youth served by the organization. Among those 18 and older, 52.8% of LGBTQ adults reported suicidal thoughts compared to 25.3% of non-LGBTQ adults, Patton said.
“We really have a lot of work to do to make sure we reach out,” said Patton. “It’s an underserved population, without a doubt. We have an obligation to improve these figures. “
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan joined forces with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Children’s Foundation, and Ethel and James Flinn Foundation to establish the grant.
Kalamazoo Integrated Services provide resources to youth, families and adults with mental health issues, intellectual and developmental abilities, and substance use disorders in Kalamazoo County. The organization serves nearly 8,000 people each year. More information is available at www.iskzoo.org.
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