MAPS helping out with mental health services

Life has always been complicated, but that doesn’t mean it has to be handled the same way it’s always been handled.

When it comes to mental health resources, much more attention is needed, especially in rural areas such as the Upper Peninsula.

According to a recent article in the online Bridge Magazine, it was reported that student suicide is the second-leading cause of death in Michigan for those ages 15 to 24, a nearly 50 percent jump in less than a decade, state health data show.

In another Bridge article, it was reported a 2018 public health survey found the U.P. had just eight psychiatrists, and two child psychiatrists to serve 300,000 people.

Psychiatry requires a medical degree, so this differs, obviously, from merely counseling people. However, counseling can be the first step in keeping a mental health issue from getting to a crisis point.

So, we are happy to see that Marquette Senior High School will be the site, at least until Sept. 30, 2020, of a mental health clinic funded through the Michigan Child and Adolescent Health Center program. The Marquette County Health Department will be in charge of the billing and administrative tasks.

Through this program, students can see a licensed master social worker, who will help them work through their problems in a confidential manner.

The program already is in place at Ishpeming and Gwinn high schools.

Adolescence is a time of transition, and although people struggle with issues at all ages, it’s particularly important to help teens deal with things when they’re at that vulnerable age.

As has been stated many times in recent years, mental illness should not be considered a stigma, just as a broken leg or a blood infection isn’t considered something to be ashamed of.

And someone with a broken leg or blood infection probably needs medical attention as soon as possible, so the same holds true with mental health.

Guidance counselors are an important component of student life, but a professional providing counseling of a different and sometimes more advanced sort is an important part as well.

We are glad to see Marquette Area Public Schools and the Marquette County Health Department take the issue of mental health seriously, and hope all area schools find a way to help students in need.