Crisis number on student ID cards have been helpful at Wausau West

Crisis numbers printed on back of student ID cards (WSAW photo)
Crisis numbers printed on back of student ID cards (WSAW photo)(WSAW)
Published: Oct. 10, 2019 at 5:38 PM CDT
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North Central Health Care in Wausau is one of 150 centers that answers crisis calls through the National Sucide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center there answers 5,000 calls every month. It's in times of crisis, That a calming voice is needed most.

"The crisis line is very important," said Amy Gray, a licensed professional counselor in training at Behavioral Health Clinic in Plover.

Just this fall, students at Wausau West got those helpful numbers printed on the backs of their student ID cards.

"This is certainly a resource for our students," said Wausau West Prinicipal Jeb Steckbauer.

He said those numbers have been helping.

"In fact, one of the students was thankful for and expressed that she was glad her friend was able to access one of the numbers," Steckbauer added.

Gray said resources like the crisis numbers are important, especially for kids and adolecents, which is an age group where 1 in 6 have a treatable mental health condition. Mental illness is a factor that can lead to suicide.

"A lot struggle around managing busy schedules, like school can get really busy and expectations can feel quite heavy at times," Gray explained.

But only half of those kids with a mental illness recieve counseling or professional treatment, which is why the crisis line is even more critical.

"It's a valuable resource, because sometimes it's harder to find coping mechanisms that can be accessible all throughout the day," added Gray.

Steckbauer believes the combination of the number and the relationships teachers and staff build with their students, will be able to help more students during tough times.

"As the year ebs and flows for kids, there's certainly a need for help with emotional problems that students are having," he said.

The idea for the IDs was taken to the school after a Wausau West student died by suicide this summer.

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