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Children's Wisconsin seeks $150 million for mental health efforts

Posted at 11:38 AM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 12:38:48-05

MILWAUKEE — Children's Wisconsin identified seven initiatives for the next five years regarding mental and behavioral health that would cost $150 million.

The initiatives will detect mental and behavioral health needs sooner, improve access to services and reduce the mental illness stigma, according to Children's. The initiatives are:

  • Expanding universal screening for mental health
  • Creating a hub for early childhood mental health
  • Expanding school-based programs throughout the state
  • Offering integrated mental and behavioral health services
  • Providing a stipend to master's-level therapists to decrease the time to earn their license
  • Offering urgent and emergent mental health space in the emergency department
  • Improving partnerships with inpatient and residential care providers

So far, Kohl's has donated $5 million, Rexnord Foundation has donated $1 million and Boldt Corporation donated another $1 million to the program. Children's has 40 school-based mental health programs underway already.

Kids in Wisconsin are hospitalized for mental health conditions at more than four times the national rate, according to the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health's 2017 annual report. Wisconsin’s youth suicide rate increased more than the national rate from 2015 to 2016, and remains significantly higher than most of the United States, according to the report.