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Oakland Press:Common Ground marks 50-years amid virtual shift of crisis mental health care

“In the age of coronavirus, the organization has like many others has spent the last year growing its virtual offerings and capabilities. Simultaneously, the need for mental health resources in Oakland County and across the nation has continued to rise as the pandemic wears on.

Common Ground receives over 50,000 calls on its crisis hotline each year serving about 88,000 people annually. In 2020, the organization received about 3,000 more online chats than the previous year with a total of 10,726. Jeff Kapuscinski, chief external relations officer for the agency, said call volume rose 50% last spring. It dipped to normal levels into this winter.

The agency kicked off its 50th year by beginning to offer new virtual support groups in January. Three free groups are open to the public covering issues for young women, domestic violence support and homicide loss support.

Once held in person, the groups are the first new virtual programming for Common Ground in 2021. They likely won’t be the last as the organization saw over 1,240 telehealth appointments also take place last year.

When Common Ground was founded in 1971, it brought together two agencies working on crisis management in Oakland County. Common Ground itself was created by a group of students and community leaders. It merged with The Sanctuary Inc. in Royal Oak, offering residential counseling to runaway youth, in 1974.

The Sanctuary has continued its work with youth throughout the pandemic. It’s a 24-hour shelter that offers residency and assistance to youth ages 10 to 17 for three-weeks. Counselors work with both the children and their families with the goal of reuniting them by the end of the program.”

Natalie Broda, Media News Group

Photo By Mark Cavitt