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MARESA students officially certified as Teen Mental Health First Aid helpers

Participants who took the December course learned about the signs of a mental health crisis and how to respond to them
The three-day course helped the 10th to 12th graders learn about crisis signs and how to respond to them.
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:36 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Westwood High School Junior Lydia Fraser wants to be able to better help friends experiencing a mental health crisis. This desire comes from personal experience.

“I’ve been in positions where I’ve needed to help a friend out, and I’m not sure how to execute that situation,” she explained. “It just also helps if I was in a position where I needed to seek professional help, who I can go to and who I can reach out to.

In mid-December, Fraser and 17 others from Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency’s (MARESA) Middle College program took part in its first-ever Teen Mental Health First Aid course.

MARESA says these sessions were created because most teens go to their peers for help before speaking to parents or trusted adults. Now, these students have some new skills for the next time her help is needed.

“Just like you would with physical first aid, you’d be able to do basic things so that you could get help and get a paramedic in,” said Meagan Staton, the Middle College program’s College and Career Readiness Coordinator. “How do I talk to my friend, know that they’re in trouble, and then be able to go get help?”

The three-day course helped the 10th to 12th graders learn about crisis signs and how to respond to them. Staton hopes these kinds of sessions expand to other U.P. schools and communities.

“These are skill sets that all of us human beings should have,” she stated. “It’s not just understanding our fellow adult, but knowing how to start those hard conversations with the people we care about.”

One of Fraser’s current goals: spread the word.

“Me and a few other people have talked about going to our counselor,” she said, “and saying, ‘Hey. I took this class. I’m certified. Would this be something you’re interested in bringing to the high school.’”

MARESA also has a Youth Mental Health First Aid course, which will take place on February 5th. It is open to anyone 18 and up who lives and/or works with kids.

If you or anyone is need of some mental health first aid, you can find resources below:

  • Dial Help
    • Crisis Call: 1-800-562-7622 or 906-482-HELP
  • National Suicide Helpline
    • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Pathways Community Mental Health
    • 24/7 Crisis Support at 1-888-PATHWAY (1-888-728-4929)
    • Marquette County Office at 906-225-1181
    • Alger County Office at 906-387-3611

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