MARQUETTE, Mich. (WZMQ) – The Superior Health Foundation is putting a spotlight on pediatric mental health. With a round table discussion full of mental healthcare professionals the foundation began discussing potential solutions to health care service disparities in The UP.
Earlier this month, The Superior Health Foundation dedicated 1.1 Million dollars over the next few years to pediatric mental health. The first step in its new proactive grant initiative, a round table discussion with experts from around The UP kickstarted the brainstorming of projects and programs that could aid in the initiative. The Foundations Executive Director Jim LaJoie says it’s important to him that so many health professionals are dedicating to making a difference.
“What we learn today and from the discussion, will be able to determine what are the needs for our children.” LaJoie explained, “Is it education, is it treatment, is it workforce development, it could be a whole slew of different things.”
Health care providers, teachers, and child health experts took part in the discussion with the goal of understanding which areas are in need of the most attention. Presenters from Great Lakes Recovery, and the Marquette Alger RESA started the discussion with data on the increase in mental health struggles in students all over The UP. Dr. Jennifer Krzewina, director of mental health services with MARESA, says the impact of social impacts of the pandemic still being delt with.
“We are seeing an increase in mental health and behavioral needs among our students of all ages,” Dr. Krzewina says, “We need to focus on prevention, early intervention, but also addressing needs at the higher level as well.”
The roundtables act as a workshop for children’s mental health professional to discuss the different issues they’ve seen and potential solutions. The providers are encouraged to collaborate to come up with solutions that address the increasing mental health issues in the state and across the country.
“We look at what’s happening in the state of Michigan,” LaJoie Says, “the amount of depression, the amount or anxiety, suicide rates are up, our children are really in need of additional resources and help.”
These discussions are just the first part of a long process to decide the best way to approach the topic of pediatric menal health in The UP. With the round table complete, The health professionals will move on to planning their proposals for the upcoming grant applications.
From June until August, The Superior Health Foundation will be accepting proposals for grants to assist in the development of these mental health programs. Grants are scheduled to be awarded in October.