Michigan safety officials encourage students to seek mental health resources

'Every student in Michigan deserves to feel safe and supported in school'
School busses
Posted at 1:36 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 13:36:06-05

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — After the deadly high school shooting in Oxford on Nov. 30, Michigan safety officials are encouraging students to seek out mental health resources.

“The tragedy of the Oxford shootings, layered upon the collective trauma of the prolonged pandemic, has made many of us, as Michiganders, more fearful, more anxious, more reactive,” said CEO of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan Robert Sheehan. Sheehan states in a recent press release that “now is a time to be attentive to the needs of each other and reach out rather than pull back.”

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice is urging students and school staff to commit to the state’s top 10 strategic education plan to help improve the safety and wellness of all learners.

“Every student in Michigan deserves to feel safe and supported in school,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a recent news release from the Michigan State Police department.

The press release from the Michigan State Police lists a few potential indicators of a mental health crisis:

  • Cognitive reactions: Inability to stop thinking about the crisis, loss of objectivity, inability to make decisions, or inability to express oneself verbally or in writing. 
  • Physical reactions: Chronic fatigue and exhaustion, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, and other aches and pains, loss of appetite, or difficulty sleeping. 
  • Emotional reactions: Excessive worry or anxiety, numbing, irritability, anger or rage, distressing thoughts or dreams, suicidal thoughts, and/or severe depression. 
  • Behavioral or social reactions: Alcohol and substance abuse, withdrawal from contact with loved ones, or an inability to complete or return to normal work responsibilities or daily tasks. 

Officials say it can be hard to have mental health conversations and they encourage people to be attentive and not pass judgment.

“MDHHS is committed to ensuring students, staff and their families have access to resources as they navigate coping with this tragedy,” said MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel in a press release. “It’s okay to ask for help for mental health needs and we are ensuring access is available if, when and where help is needed.”