MiRuralCareMatters: Eaton Rapids Medical Center Promotes Teen Mental Health

Adolescents that are more depressed are at
risk of potentially not completing school, obviously of some more severe health challenges,
and they’re also just at risk of not performing up to their full potential. Those rates are increasing, so one of the
focus areas for the Eaton Rapids Health Alliance is particularly on adolescent mental health. One of the big things for us is mental health,
is teen mental health, and understanding that people need support, people need to know that
they’re OK and it’s an OK place to be. We started it because we saw a need in the
community. The support we’ve gotten from the hospital
was invaluable in helping us get started with knowledgeable people, willing to give of their
time and their talents. Actually the Eaton Rapids Medical Center was
one of the first ones we contacted. One of the areas the hospital helped us out
in the very beginning was they were the ones that enabled us to get the 501(c)(3), our
non-profit status. They’ve got accountants, they’ve got people
that work with non-profits, they’ve given us advice that way, but also if we need advice
as far as dietary or counseling, they bring in a wide range of support services that teens
need. We see between 25 and 35 most days, our peak
has been 45. Not everyone is enrolled in an activity like
a sport or a play, and having a group to belong to, having a social circle that you’re comfortable
to spend time in and having that place to be active and engaged can make a huge difference. We’re definitely seeing more conversations
in the community about teen mental health and we’re starting to build awareness. That’s just the first step, our hope is that
that can lead to better outcomes in the future. I have two teens that use the teen center
after school. Dante’s confidence has gone up because he’s
socializing more, I believe. He talks a lot more, he’s not so set back. My other son Donovan, he learned how to build
his own computer, which he was really proud of that, which of course, more confidence. That’s what I like about the place, is they
just instill the kids into believing in themselves. The neat things that I see when I’m here at
the teen center is how in the first year, some of the kids who came in the beginning,
how they’ve changed. They feel like they have a home here. It just is uplifting, it’s heartwarming, just
really neat to see it.

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