Helping those in conflict and crisis

About Gryphon Place

The year 1970 seemed like a tough time. It seemed like a time that if you didn't help yourself, no one else would. So a group of people, mostly college age, incorporated as a non-profit, took over an old firehouse in the Vine Street Neighborhood on the edge of Western Michigan University's campus, and started a Youth Drug Drop-In Center, calling it Gryphon House.

It turned out, however, that other people, and other organizations, did want to help. By 1971, Gryphon started its Overdose Aid Drug Information line, and by 1972, became the HELPLine (269-381-HELP) for crisis intervention, information and referral, a crisis phone line that Gryphon volunteers still answer to this day. Volunteers also that year formed Flying Squads for suicide rescue for overdose and suicide attempts.

The name changed to Gryphon Place in 1973, and by the following year the HELPLine became a 24-hour operation. It soon became funded by the Greater Kalamazoo United Way, and in the decades that followed connected and cooperated with other regional organizations and enhanced the services it offers. Gryphon Place by the late '80s became a suicide prevention center as certified by the American Association of Suicidology.

Entering the 21st century, Gryphon Place became a regional partner with Michigan's 2-1-1 call center to provide information and the right connections to more than 300 health and human service agencies in the region. One significant change for Gryphon Place came in the second decade of the 21st Century when the organization moved out of the old firehouse and into a new building on 8th Street to better house the current-day operations run by approximately 55 staff and 50 volunteers

We continue to improve and enhance our programs and service to help people in conflict and crisis in their lives.. Yet Gryphon Place is still true to its original mission of the 1970s.

Whether a person needs help locating a specific service or is having trouble securing basic needs, we can help. Dial 2-1-1 for answers and information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.. Calls are confidential and answered with respect, empathy and compassion. We are expertly trained in suicide prevention and are fully certified by the American Association of Suicidology. Gryphon Place is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network and meets national standards for Best Practices for Suicide Prevention Hot Lines.

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