YES Behavioral Health Specialist Michelle Brode
Michelle Brode has always known she wanted to major in psychology, but it wasn’t until she worked on her university’s crisis phone line that she found her passion working with youth in crisis. Michelle joined YES in 2017 as an in-school YES Behavioral Specialist and continues with crisis work by conducting suicide risk assessments in the Lake Washington School District.
This school year 2018-2019, Michelle’s main role will be at Rose Hill and Kirkland Middle Schools. She will provide one-to-one counseling for students, offer presentations on topics such as grief and loss, suicide prevention, and the risks of vaping, as well as organizing recovery groups within the school environment.
She will continue her crisis work by providing suicide risk assessments throughout the Lake Washington School District. When school staff recognizes a student is at risk of suicide or self-harm, they will contact YES. Michelle will immediately go out to the school to conduct an assessment and recommend the best next step.
“Part of my role with suicide assessment is I get to communicate to a student that we can talk about suicide, that I know they feel hopeless, but that I’ve seen this before and I know there is a way through it,” Michelle says.
Michelle’s favorite part of her job is seeing youth connect with their strengths, grow their coping skills, and learn to independently manage challenges.
Michelle can’t emphasize enough just how important a role parents or caregivers play, “It’s important for parents to know that kids are living in a different world than we grew up in. Adolescence is hard. Maintaining a warm, open, relationship with your child is really difficult and extremely worthwhile.”
Michelle recommends that parents “put on their oxygen mask first,” and get the support they need to be a parent, especially if they have a teen who is struggling. Parents can find more resources at their child’s school, through mental health counseling, parenting support groups such as Changes, and by finding other parents they respect and asking their advice.