Seeking mental health assistance from professionals

Resources available in Schoology


Ethan Smale, Business Manager

When students are not ok, and that’s ok, professional resources are available 24/7.

While the school’s counselors are available during the school day, there are other options available outside of school hours, and most of these can be found on every student’s Schoology page, within a “course” called Utica High School Counseling 2020-2021.

“We know how during the school day you can get support from counselors and other trained professionals,” principal Tom Lietz said in a video announcement. “But when you’re not in school, or if you need additional support, we want to make sure you have it.”

By opening the Community Support Resources folder in the Schoology course, students have access to a variety of professional, and confidential if needed, resources.

One resource is available through Utica’s long relationship with KnowResolve, a local, community based non-profit organization that “breaks down the silence, shame and stigma surrounding mental health disorders and works to provide adults and youth with tools needed to prevent suicide,” according to their website. In the past, students were able to connect and confide in peers, alongside trained professionals, at The Shed.

“With social distancing and the rest,” Lietz said, “the counselors at KnowResolve realized they had to create an alternative to The Shed, where you could come in-person to actively discuss issues with other kids, and with licensed counselors there.”

KnowResolve created a virtual option called the Rant Room, which meets every Wednesday at 3pm via Zoom.

“The Rant Room opens up an opportunity for students to be able to talk with each other with the support of adults in the room, that are not their teachers or their administrator, to help guide that conversation,” Lietz said. “This is an incredible opportunity for those non-immediate issues you may be dealing with, and need some additional support to get out some of your concerns, stresses or frustrations.”

For students that are seeking confidential, one-on-one therapy, the Adolescent Outreach Program (AOP) is designed for high school student to obtain six free sessions of therapy and counseling.

“This is for those issues that are more than just talking with peer, more than maybe even talking with your high school counselor,” Lietz said. “You’re not talking mental wellness anymore, but actually talking about the absolute health of your mind and in your system. And that’s nothing we should shun away from, but something we should reach for.”

Available inside the Community Support Resources folder, the AOP High School Flyer provides specific information, as well as a link to a confidential self-referral form, so students can request sessions without going through a school counselors or parents.

“If you need help,” Lietz said, “this is your way of reaching out and getting it from licensed counselors that work with the Macomb Outreach Program.”

The school’s counselors and administrators are hoping that students remember that these resources are available if assistance is needed outside of school hours. More importantly, if a student feels there is an immediate concern for their health and well-being, their physical safety, or physical safety of someone else you care about, there are resources available 24/7 at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline‘s number, 1-800-273-TALK. Their site also has a chat option, for those who don’t want to call.

“We don’t want anyone to ever have to use this number of this resource,” Lietz said, “but the reality is, we ant to make sure that in these challenging times, if you need that resource, that 24/7 support, that you have it. So please don’t be afraid to use that number if it’s necessary for you, or someone you care about.”