East Grand Rapids schools get $1M for mental health services

Grand Rapids, Michigan (Wood) – A major investment in East Grand Rapids Public Schools will provide more support for the mental health needs of its students.

“Just like every other person, our students go through a lot,” said Craig Weigel, principal of East Grand Rapids High School.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionn showed that mental health was getting worse among high school students.

This struggle inside and outside the classroom is the same for young children.

More Reports by the CDC Point out that in a class of 25 students, at least five of them will be struggling with anxiety, depression, or some sort of mental illness.

“It should have the same importance that all other education has,” said Amy Sturma, executive director of the East Grand Rapids School Foundation.

Not a single person in the community neglected his role in helping to overcome those challenges. Most recently, he donated $1 million to the East Grand Rapids School Foundation.

“Children of this generation are in dire need of help for the educational system to meet and meet our expectations for them. We know that EGR children face some serious challenges and we must address them,” said the anonymous donor said in a statement.

Last summer, the district received a $750,000 grant from the foundation to support the mental health of students across the district. This will go on for the next three years.

Since then, the district has hired a mental health coordinator and a social worker.

Stursma says the million-dollar donation has given her the momentum she needed to start the first-ever mental health and wellness fund.

Two people have already pledged $50,000 to the fund. Stuursma believes this will add sustainable resources, support, programs and security.

“That’s the exciting part because it will allow us to be sustainable,” she said. “We are grateful for our community to bring mental health to the forefront as part of educating the whole child.”

Students fill out surveys to determine what their needs are. Staff members are working through responses to implement specific programs and supports.

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