Street Talk: Grant offers hope for suicide prevention on large scale

Pocket change.
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Hope Network, a Grand Rapids-based statewide nonprofit organization that provides health care and life services to 23,000 people in more than 240 Michigan communities annually, will be able to offer suicide prevention services to 150,000 people across the state after being awarded a $1.4 million grant.

Hope Network received the five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and plans to serve approximately 30,000 individuals each year through its Zero Suicide initiative.

Zero Suicide is a comprehensive approach to suicide care that aims to reduce the risk of suicide for all individuals seen in health care systems. Hope Network’s work will reach across 28 Michigan counties focusing on people who are age 25 or older, with particular attention being paid to vulnerable groups including veterans, the unemployed, people re-entering communities after coming out of prison and the homeless.

“This grant is a game-changer for Hope Network in allowing us to offer this significant service across the state,” said Phil Weaver, Hope Network president and CEO. “Zero Suicide represents a commitment to patient safety which is the most fundamental responsibility of health care and to the safety and support of staff who treat and support suicidal patients.”

According to the Michigan Suicide Prevention Commission, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in Michigan.

In 2020, nearly 1,300 suicides were reported, which means on average someone dies by suicide every six hours across the state, according to the organization. Suicide rates have increased across Michigan and the United States in the past decade and research has found that approximately half of people have a mental health diagnosis before they die by suicide, the commission said.

Hope Network will institute the Zero Suicide tenets for employees across all of its service lines in both clinical and non-clinical programs. Screening and referral processes will be set up to identify people at risk of suicide and to develop a treatment plan.

The program also includes training for professionals in the mental health care, primary care and emergency room workforces on suicide prevention and other mental health practices. The Zero Suicide initiative will include insight from people who have either attempted suicide or who have lost a family member to suicide.

Weaver said Hope Network hopes to reduce the number of suicide deaths in people 25 years old and older who are served by Hope Network by 50% in the first year of the program and hopes to reduce the number of suicide attempts by 50% among the same group.

“This grant and the Zero Suicide initiative is a logical next step for our commitment to providing complete mental health services and will enable us to help those who are most vulnerable,” he said.

Rock steady

North Kent Connect is getting ready to host a night of music and fun to benefit families in northern Kent County.

Tickets are now on sale for a fundraiser concert benefitting North Kent Connect (NKC), the food pantry and resource center that helps families in northern Kent County with basic needs and empowers them to financial independence.

“North Kent Connect Rocks the Park” will be held beginning at 5 p.m. Sept. 16 at Rogers Park in Sparta. Emceed by Sparta funny man Jeff “Spanky” Amlotte from Mamrelund Lutheran, the evening will feature the hometown band Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys for a family-friendly concert.

A special performance by 12 local pastors appearing as “The Calendar Clergy,” taking their inspiration from the Neil Sedaka song “Calendar Girl,” will include a fashion show, with each pastor appearing as a different month.

The Calendar Clergy includes Pastor Laurie TenHave-Chapman, First Congregational Church of Rockford (January); Pastor Tim Meendering, Rockford Reformed (February); Pastor Dennis Moles, Bella Vista Church (March); Pastor Bill Flavin, River Rock Church (April); Pastor Ben Taylor, Sparta Baptist (May); Pastor Tyler Hubbell, Sparta Church of the Nazarene (June); Father Danny Orris, Our Lady of Consolation (July); Father Tony Pelak, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August); Pastor Inge Whittemore, East Nelson Church (September); Pastor Michael Conklin, Mamrelund Lutheran (October); Pastor Kim DeLong, Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist (November); and Pastor Karen Fitz La Barge, North Kent Presbyterian (December).

Tickets are $20. Food trucks and local restaurants will be on site for purchasing food and drinks. People can bring a lawn chair or purchase a sponsorship to use a picnic table.

Sponsorship opportunities and tickets can be purchased at nkconnect.org or by contacting Scott Christie at scott.christie@nkconnect.org or (616) 866-3478, ext. 356.

Registration is at 5 p.m. for persons who have pre-purchased tickets, and the program begins at 6 p.m.

Fast cash

Holland Hospital staff can look forward to extra income over the coming months thanks to a new employment incentive program.

All employees will earn an extra $3 per hour on top of their regular pay through September. The program applies to all newly hired employees as well, so job seekers have another reason to consider working for Holland Hospital.

“Our goal has always been to hire skilled and dedicated employees who are looking for a great place to work,” said Sandra Trammell, vice president of human resources. “This program is designed to recognize the exceptional work of our current staff and also encourage those who are seeking a new position or positive work culture or thinking about a career change to consider joining our team.”

This summer, many people will be joining the workforce. Others may not be actively seeking a job change but may be open to learning about new opportunities. 

“We welcome applications for full- and part-time positions in clinical and support areas and have a new fast-application process to make it easy to apply,” Trammell said.

To learn more about job opportunities and benefits, visit hollandhospital.org/careers.

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