7 Investigates: School leaders spread message of mental health resources

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – With school not in session for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, employees representing most of Marathon County's ten public schools heard more from county health leaders about available mental health resources.

“It's important that we try to be proactive and try to provide those skills to students early. And by doing that we hope they will be more successful as adults," Wausau School District Counseling Services Coordinator Andy Grimm said.

90 percent of Marathon County districts were represented at the school-based mental health counseling retreat at Wausau’s Horace Mann Middle School, according to Grimm, hearing from 25 mental health service providers.

“Share a little bit about their services. And then also be able to meet with school counselors, social workers, and psychologists,” Grimm said.

The idea here is those attending are able to bring this information back to their co-workers, and most importantly, also share that information with students and their families.

The meeting is also significant because, as 7 Investigates was first to report last month, one of the primary reasons 30 licensed therapists have been added to every Marathon County public school came after the annual youth behavior risk survey showed more than 100 Marathon County middle schoolers surveyed said they had attempted suicide.

Monday’s retreat was hosted by the Marathon County School-Based Counseling Consortium. It is made up of mental health clinics, public school districts, and community organizations. In a recent report compiled by the MCS-BCC, “Impact of School-Based Counseling in Marathon County," showed 86.1 percent of fourth to twelfth graders said they felt better about their life now than before counseling.

Editor’s note: Because discussing suicide can be a triggering event, for immediate help or support contact: the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8285); The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1); Crisis Text Line: Text 741-741 to connect to a trained crisis counselor