We are students at Maranacook Community High School, and we are users of the school based health center. The governor has proposed cutting funds to the 16 school based health centers throughout Maine. Our school could lose up to $24,000, which would drastically limit students’ access to health care.

Every Maranacook student can use the health center, and 54 percent of our student body is registered to use expanded services. Expanded services include access to nurse practitioners, who provide asthma care, diabetes care, prescription medications, access to adolescent health care and diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries, as well as access to a counselor.

These services make Maranacook’s school based health center vital to young people in our community. Without these services, we risk seeing an increase in teen suicide, depression, increased absenteeism leading to higher school dropout rates, more sickness and higher treatment costs.

Not only does the health center help with physical and mental health, it also helps students learn how to educate their peers about the dangers of smoking and underage drinking. We are part of our school’s Student Health Advisory Committee. We work with the Maine Youth Health Alliance to get the message out about stopping tobacco use in schools. We collaborate with Healthy Communities of the Capital Area to spread the word about the risks of teenage drinking. We have been doing this important work and wonder who will do this work in our school if the health center is taken away.

Throughout the last 20 years, students, faculty members and community members have worked to build Maranacook’s successful and exemplary school based health center. The work that our health center does keeps our students and our communities healthy and ready for the future. Please help us to safeguard this important community resource.

Marissa Willette, senior

Maranacook Community School

on behalf of the Student Health Advisory Committee

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