Erick: Coping with Trauma and Grief

Erick is a pleasant, affable junior at Harrison High School. Behind his bright smile, you would never know there is significant pain from all of the loss and adversity he has faced in his young life.

His challenges began early when Erick was diagnosed with leukemia at 15 months. The battle for his life continued until he went into remission at age five. Fast forward to middle school, when Erick experienced serious bullying in 6th and 7th grade, including an incident that involved death threats on social media. Within a few years, Erick also coped with the burden of grief after experiencing the loss of his father, stepfather, and his close friend, Abby.

With help from Kelsey Weber, the Youth First Social Worker at McGary Middle School, and Dawn Tedrow, the Youth First Social Worker at Harrison High School, Erick showed extraordinary courage and resiliency in the many times he has chosen to ask for help and embrace hope.

Youth First Social Workers are a lifeline for students like Erick. They are licensed mental health professionals embedded in school buildings, available to help students dealing with challenges like bullying, anxiety, depression, grief, substance use, and suicidal thoughts. Youth First’s continuum of care allows students on a Youth First Social Worker’s caseload to transfer seamlessly to the new Youth First Social Worker when they move from one partner school to another.

Erick says, “Without Youth First, Mrs. Weber, and Ms. Tedrow, I don’t know where I would be today.”

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