Munising Public Schools offer mental health services for Alger County youth

Alger County residents ages 5 to 21 can receive counseling from a licensed professional.
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 6:40 PM EDT
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MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - Munising Public Schools now offer mental health services on campus. The services are part of the LMAS District Health Department’s Expanding and Enhancing Emotional Health program.

Melissa Carlson is a professional licensed counselor for the school system. She says this program is a tremendous benefit for students who might not otherwise have access to mental health services.

“Being in a rural community, access is limited,” Carlson said. “We hardly have any therapists in the community that can see children and adolescents. I think that this will be broader reaching and give kids more of an opportunity to get the help that they need.”

Carlson provides counseling to young people experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety. In order to help as many young people as possible, services are available to any resident of Alger County ages 5 to 21, even if they don’t attend Munising Public Schools.

“They could be homeschooled, they could be doing online schooling, or they may not even be in the educational system anymore,” said Carlson.

Superintendent Pete Kelto says this service is crucial for students, and not just during a pandemic.

“Students face a lot of mental health challenges in a normal year,” explained Kelto. “I think it was increasingly important this year in a pandemic to have a professional counselor on staff.”

Carlson says the mental health program will help students in many ways and into the future.

“1 in 6 students can experience mental health symptoms that prevent them from achieving their full potential in an academic setting,” she said. “I think it’s very important that we’re able to address these symptoms at a younger age, that way they can be more successful adults.”

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