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Common Ground CEO says national grant will help save lives

Oakland County-based nonprofit Common Ground was recently awarded a grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  

Common Ground provides crisis intervention services, such as a 24-hour Resource and Crisis Helpline, a shelter for at-risk youth, and residential treatment programs, to more than 88,000 people annually.   

“We do a really good job following up with people who call, text or chat the Resource and Crisis Helpline who are at risk of suicide,” said Heather Rae, CEO and president of Common Ground. 

“However, (we have) no mechanism to follow up with the more than 7,000 people served by our walk-in Resource and Crisis Center. … That’s why the SAMHSA grant will be important in implementing a system that can improve screening and follow up with those considered high risk.” 

The organization will use the grant funding to: 

  • Offer follow-up interventions to all individuals at high risk of suicide 
  • Partner with emergency departments, law enforcement and community mental health collaboratives to implement protocols for shared data and tracking 
  • Hire staff to implement the Air Traffic Control model, which would remove access to service barriers for individuals 
  • Implement an electronic data system which would include dashboards populated with data regarding people at high risk of suicide who are waiting in hospital emergency departments, the status of inpatient bed availability, mobile crisis team GPS technology, availability for crisis stabilization services and crisis residential services 

Technologies implemented as a result of the grant will allow Common Ground to effectively serve individuals at high risk of suicide who consent to follow up interventions, track the status and impact of those interventions in reducing hospitalizations, suicide attempts, and deaths by suicide. 

“We are looking forward to implementing these initiatives that are made possible by SAMHSA. I believe that expanding our crisis center follow-up will make a difference in the community, and ultimately, save lives,” said Rae. 

For more information, visit or call 248-456-8150.   


-Monica Drake, MediaNewsGroup