Mill Creek Middle School has received the 2019 Exemplary Education Endeavors Award (E3 Award) from the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce for their “Mental Health Matters” program held for students in February.
The A2Y Chamber gives out the E3 Award to recognize and promote educational programs designed to engage students on a creative and effective level. Recipients of the award receive a trophy and cash prize donated by local sponsors and the A2Y Chamber’s Education Foundation.
“Mental Health Matters” was an all-day workshop provided for Mill Creek students. Mill Creek Middle School and Dexter Community schools, along with schools across the country, have been looking for ways to stem the rising tide of mental health struggles. The seminar was a collaborative effort between educators, community mental health professionals, families, and students.
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act,” Molly Kalich, first-year Social Worker at Mill Creek and event organizer, explained to students at the opening assembly. “It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.”
“Mental Health Matters” was in response to rising concerns about the health and mental well-being of kids. According to the Michigan Department of Education,
- Rates of absenteeism and tardiness are much higher for students with mental health disturbance.
- Emotional, behavioral and social difficulties diminish the capacity of children to learn and benefit from the educational process.
- Increased physical, social and emotional well-being can improve academic performance.
- Approximately 20% of children and adolescents suffer from a mental illness resulting in mild functional impairments AND an estimated 10% have moderate to severe impairments.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth in Michigan.
- Many people do not seek treatment for mental health concerns because of the stigma attached to it.
The workshop is one component of a larger effort by the school district to raise awareness of mental health and open the door for students to begin having conversations about it and engage them in the importance of taking care of their mind and their body.