Bay City Schools enlists team of counselors for district

A local school district has a team tasked with addressing tragedy and mental health in the classroom and beyond.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:49 PM EDT
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BAY CITY, Mich. (WNEM) - A local school district has a team tasked with addressing tragedy and mental health in the classroom and beyond.

Bay City Schools has enlisted a group of counselors to respond when an individual experiences a crisis.

For Lori Poprave, no day is the same at Bay City Western. She serves as the middle school’s guidance counselor, but she does more than just help students set goals.

“It’s not counseling, so it’s not, ‘How do you feel about this?’ It’s processing what they are going through and all those emotions,” Poprave said.

She is a part of a crisis intervention program available to students, faculty, and even parents who experience a significant loss or tragedy, or just need somebody to talk to. They even have a calming room where you can go to recenter.

“We are seeing students now that never before have worried about things, have been concerned about things on the level that they are,” Poprave said. “And that’s what we’re here for, myself and my other fellow school counselors. We deal with in anxiety in kids who are struggling all day long. It’s incredible.”

The crisis intervention program is not just at Bay City Western; they have counselors on hand at every school throughout the district.

“If a crisis happens in our district, if there is a causality, if a student has died, if a student has a critical illness, if something happens to a staff member, we have a team in place that can go to any building in our school district and handle that crisis appropriately,” Poprave said.

That team consists of 35 counselors split among the district. Poprave said for every crisis, they all follow the same protocol to help students work through their emotions so there is no confusion.

“This is a huge guide to help facilitators through the process because it takes them through each individual step of the process,” Poprave said. “But I would say the best is if you have five groups running, if you have two groups running, if you have 15 groups running, we’re all speaking the same language, we’re all following the same process.”

She said that in today’s climate it is critical to have these resources available to students.

“The anxiety and the depression and even just the anger that kids are coming to school with, it’s unprecedented and it’s sad. And we want to be able to help,” Poprave said.

Mental health counselors are also available for students who need additional counseling.

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