Highfields provides a range of services to promote physical and mental wellness for students.
When youth are placed at Highfields, they are often stressed from the challenges of their lives, including poverty, trauma, and substance abuse.
“Our population is changing,” said Rebecca Gibson, Highfields’ Medical Coordinator. “Back when I started, our kids stole a bike or were truant from school. Now we’re seeing kids who have seen multiple shootings, and absent parents. We’re seeing more students with mental health challenges.”
Gibson has been at Highfields for 19 years. She monitors medications for the students, and makes medical, dental, and vision appointments to promote their physical and mental well-being. She also schedules appointments with Dr. Barnes, a psychiatrist who meets with students twice a month to discuss their medications and special needs.
“Physical and mental wellness is important for everybody, but especially these kids,” said Gibson. “We need to fill their minds with good things.”
Highfields’ support groups are essential to helping students with mental health challenges, like Substance Abuse Group, Anger Management, and Skills Streaming, where counselors role play with students to help show them different ways to react to situations.
Off-campus activities to places like the Wharton Center in Lansing, Detroit Tigers games, and amusement parks also help promote mental wellness.
“Most of these kids don’t know fun,” said Gibson. “If they go out and play, it’s in a street where there are drive-by shootings, or someone’s going to ask them to run drugs. So it’s important to help them experience fun things they’ve never done before or never believed they would do.”