Whitmer praises Thunder Bay Community Health Services’ efforts to help students | News, Sports, Jobs
ALPENA – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer toured the Thunder Bay Community Health Services clinic in Hillman on Thursday and met with its staff and board of directors to learn more about the agency’s school health program health.
During the meeting, Whitmer heard first-hand success stories from staff about how the program has helped children in Northern Michigan who suffer from physical and mental health issues.
Whitmer has been urged by the health agency’s administration and board to continue supporting its goals and initiatives so that more people can get the help they need.
Thunder Bay Community Health works with local schools to provide primary care and mental health services in 20 schools in six counties. The program helps keep K-12 students healthy and also works to protect them from mistreatment and abuse.
Whitmer said the children have had a tough time over the past few years due to the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she was proposing a record investment in public education, health care and school-based health services like those offered by TBCHS because she understands the need to help families.
“The work that’s being done, and in clinics like this across the state, is crucial,” Whitmer said. “We often have this tendency to say that children are resilient, and we’re not lying when we say that, but the fact is that the last few years have had an impact on everyone. Children who were struggling before COVID-19 had their problems exacerbated. We want to partner with facilities like this and expand them to meet the needs of the community for all.
Whitmer said she hopes her proposals will be supported by the Lansing state legislature. In her mind, Whitmer said the physical and mental health and education of children should be a high priority for everyone.
“The more young people we can reach who need a little extra support, that’s how we’ll make the best difference,” she said. “These investments are very important and I hope anyone who thinks so will speak to their legislators.”
Michelle Styma, CEO of TBCHS, said she appreciated the governor taking the time to visit and learn more about the services offered and future plans. She said continued federal and state support can help a growing number of children who need help.
“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that all children have access to the resources they need to be safe and successful,” Styma said in a press release. “Governor. Whitmer has continued to be an advocate for meeting the needs in our schools and within our communities and we appreciate the support.
Whitmer said it was essential to ensure that all people received the mental health treatment they needed, as this could help reduce violent crime, particularly shootings. She said common sense investments and legislation that help keep guns out of the reach of those who shouldn’t have them is a good place to start.
Whitmer said that in the days and weeks following the Oxford shooting, it was difficult for her, the Oxford community and the state as a whole to come to terms with the senseless loss of life.
Four people were killed in Oxford in November and seven others were injured when a suspect opened fire at Oxford High School.
“These tragedies are happening in places of worship, in grocery stores, they’re happening in schools, they’re happening in hospitals, and we’re seeing increasing gun violence take its toll on people’s lives,” Whitmer said. “We’ve had some tough days over the past few years and the ones after Oxford have been the toughest. I think whether it’s secure storage, background checks or red flag laws, I think that there are places where we can find common ground that will not impact the rights of hunters and gun owners. But we have to make sure that we keep guns out of reach of dangerous persons.