The Sanctuary, located in Royal Oak, offers a three-week residential program, outpatient counseling and trauma-informed care to youth and families in crisis. It is part of Common Ground, a nonprofit organization that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

The Sanctuary, located in Royal Oak, offers a three-week residential program, outpatient counseling and trauma-informed care to youth and families in crisis. It is part of Common Ground, a nonprofit organization that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Photo provided by Common Ground


Common Ground celebrates 50 years

Oct. 24 gala to raise funds for urgent care center

By: Sarah Wojcik | C&G Newspapers | Published October 7, 2021

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OAKLAND COUNTY — As Common Ground celebrates its first 50 years and looks forward to the next, it hopes to raise funds for a behavioral health urgent care center to address the increasing demand from people facing stress, addiction and other emotional well-being issues.

The nonprofit organization has been providing support to people in crisis since 1971, when a volunteer group of students, parents and teachers came together to help young runaways, as well as address rising drug abuse and suicide rates.

The goal is to raise $1.2 million to develop, build and staff the new center in Southfield. The facility is expected to launch virtually this month and operate from a physical space in 2022. Once complete, officials project it will serve 15,000 people a year.

The clinic is ideal for adults and children who, without urgent intervention from prescribers, clinicians and recovery coaches, would experience an increase in psychiatric symptoms, such as depression or anxiety. The goal would be to reduce visits to emergency rooms.

“We see this as a gap in the crisis service continuum for people regardless of insurance type and where they live so they have access to unscheduled psychiatric assessment, intervention, bridge medications and coordination with their ongoing services provider,” Common Ground CEO Heather Rae said.

Jeff Kapuscinski, chief external relations officer for Common Ground, said that while the nonprofit began with limited hours, it now provides 24/7, year-round support through a crisis phone line, as well as text and chat options.

“Text and chat (options) are really important for people who are in a situation where they might be less able to speak out loud, such as a domestic violence situation,” he said.

He added that the crisis center located in Royal Oak is a haven for homeless or runaway youth from the tri-county area.

“In the beginning of the pandemic, obviously, we saw a drop-off in the number of in-person requests and a huge increase in the telephone calls and the contact through the resource and crisis helpline,” Kapuscinski said. “That lasted about two to three months and our number came back to kind of what’s normal.”

He said Common Ground receives approximately 1,000 contacts a week through the help line and helps more than 80,000 people annually.

“That is only a fraction of the people that really need our help,” he said. “In Oakland County, there’s probably at least three times that number, if not four.”

Common Ground offers 16 different programs, from immediate crisis intervention, to support and education, to long-term bridging and monitoring for continued success.

On Oct. 24, Common Ground will hold an event for staff and volunteers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by a gala fundraiser in the evening that will include a strolling dinner, drinks, a short program and fellowship. Both events will take place at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac.

“We want to bring back all of the staff and volunteers who helped support Common Ground and its mission,” Kapuscinski said. “Tickets for staff and volunteers, whether they are currently with us or not, are free, and if they bring a guest, there is a modest charge for the guest. We’re hoping to bring several generations of people back together to celebrate.”

At the gala, he said Common Ground would be honoring longtime volunteer Kay White, who has been listening to callers and providing hope for almost 40 years.

The 24/7 resource and crisis helpline can be reached at (800) 231-1127.

For more information about Common Ground, the staff and volunteer event, the gala or to donate, visit commongroundhelps.org.

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