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PI schools to add mental health workers

Jamie Huber

ROGERS CITY — The 10 school districts in the Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle Educational Service District will provide students more mental health services through a grant the ESD received this summer.

Jamie Huber, the ESD superintendent, told the Rogers City Area Schools Board of Education on Monday the $294,500 grant has and will be used to add mental health workers to the 10 K-12 member school districts.

“The goal of this grant was to expand and support mental health services,” Huber said. “We had school districts that had no mental health support for their students.”

Last school year, there were about 700 students per mental health worker for the 10 K-12 districts within the ESD. The grant has helped decrease that gap to 400 students per worker this school year.

“We’ve been able to get that down to where every school district has mental health support services in their schools for their students,” Huber said. “That’s a pretty huge increment.”

Rogers City and Onaway Area Community Schools each had one mental health provider and added another part-time provider in their schools.

Posen Consolidated Schools was able to increase the hours of its part-time mental health provider because of the grant.

Thunder Bay Community Health Service Inc. was already able to hire someone who will work in Rogers City High School, Huber said.

“We’re blessed to have the person here in Rogers City and we’re still working in a couple of areas to utilize these funds,” he said.

The ESD has also partnered with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan for assistance with billing all services to insurance.

“Fortunately, we were able to come together with partnering with our 10 superintendents and school districts to make a difference across our region,” Huber said. “Everyone needs to feel supported at times, and some of our students need it more than others, so having somebody available when there wasn’t formerly is a huge impact.”

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.