Char-Em School District to Add Mental Health Worker to Serve Students

The need for more mental health resources for students has grown since the pandemic began.

Thanks to a partnership between the Charlevoix Emmet Intermediate School District and the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, funds have been secured to allow a new mental health worker to serve area schools.

“My saying in the district is we need to do three things when kids walk through the door,” said Stephen Seelye, superintendent of Pellston Schools. “We need to make sure they’re safe, we need to make sure they’re loved, and we need to make sure that they’re educated and if you don’t do the first two right they aren’t going to receive an education.”Pellston High School

Throughout the past few years, Pellston Schools and others have seen more cases of students needing more support.

“It’s alarming the amount of mental health difficulties we’re seeing in youth, especially with everything COVID related and the instability they’re kind of facing,” said Rob Higgens, school psychologist with Char-Em.

Pellston Schools Counselor Jennifer Dilworth said one of the most common cases they see is an increased anxiety in students. “Sometimes they just need a quiet space, just a chill location to just kind of let themselves relax and kind of talk through things that are causing that anxiety,” she said.

Students have had to deal with a lot during the pandemic and schools are recognizing the need for more services.

“They’re doing a great job of adapting and overcoming but there are still some of those needs that we see cropping up where students aren’t feeling safe and secure and seeking those services all different kinds of places, and school would be a great place to continue to provide that,” said Higgins.

While Pellston Schools has a significant health center already, they’re looking forward to bringing on a new mental health worker to serve their students.