Safety officials encourage students to seek mental health resources

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

“The tragedy of the Oxford shooting, layered on top of the collective trauma of the protracted pandemic, has made many of us as Michiganders more fearful, more anxious, more reactive,” said Community Mental CEO Health Association of Michigan, Robert Sheehan. Sheehan says in a recent press release that “now is the time to be mindful of each other’s needs and to reach out rather than back down.”

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice urges students and school staff to engage in the State’s Top 10 Strategic Education Plan to help improve the safety and well-being of all learners.

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

The Michigan State Police press release lists some 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 pains, loss of appetite or trouble sleeping.
  • Emotional reactions: Excessive worry or anxiety, numbness, 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 inability to perform or resume normal job responsibilities or daily tasks.

Officials say it can be difficult to have conversations about mental health and they encourage people to be mindful and non-judgmental.

“MDHHS is committed to ensuring that students, staff and their families have access to resources to deal with this tragedy,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a press release. “There is nothing wrong with seeking help for mental health needs and we ensure that access is available if, when and where help is needed.”

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