A ninth-grader at Carvers Bay High School in Georgetown County silently suffered from depression until a Healthy Learners staff member took notice – thanks to the Youth Mental Health First Aid training she had recently received.

Aixa Rodriguez-Mariani, Healthy Learners Waccamaw Program Manager, first met this 15-year-old girl three years ago after receiving a referral from the school nurse. The young girl suffered an acute asthma attack during school and the school nurse was able to treat the health scare by using an inhaler stored in her office. The young girl did not have an inhaler or allergy medications; and had not seen her pediatrician in over a year due to a lack of health insurance. Aixa was able to provide transportation to a local pediatrician for the young girl to receive her inhaler, medications, and immunizations. In addition to the physician visit, Aixa obtained Medicaid for the young girl and her two brothers. They were all able to visit a dentist and optometrist last year for the first time in many years.

While transporting her to a pediatrician visit, Aixa notices the young girl was not her normal self and began to ask her questions based on her recent Youth Mental Health First Aid training. Once they arrived at the pediatrician office, Aixa informed the nurse of her observations and at that visit, the pediatrician determined the young girl suffered from depression. Since the diagnosis, Aixa continues to provide support by checking in with her and accompanying her to monthly counseling visits.

This 15-year-old girl is just one of 239 children Healthy Learners served in Georgetown County last year. Unfortunately, there are many more just like her that are in need. Healthy Learners needs your support to reach more children in need.

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