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Local experts help to raise awareness on World Mental Health Day

Children's Wisconsin believes 1 in 5 kids are living with serious mental illness which equates to about 250,000 children in the state.
Posted at 12:01 AM, Oct 11, 2021

As Sunday marked World Mental Health day, experts throughout the city put their best foot forward to raise awareness.

They believe mental illness is only growing throughout Milwaukee.

"The reality is that if you are living, you are dealing with some sort of mental health need," said Dr. Lakeia Jones, CEO of Amri Counseling Services.

Dr. Lakeia Jones wakes up every day to meet that need at Amri Counseling Services, an organization working to increase access to mental health care for all ages throughout southeast Wisconsin.

Sunday afternoon, Dr. Jones was just one of many experts that gathered on the city's north side to promote awareness for mental health resources within the African American community.

"World mental health day is a global celebration where we can come together and silence the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses," said Montréal Cain, founder of MERA Response Team.

Cain is utilizing technology to play his part in fighting the stigma behind mental illness.

"Our application allows for loved ones who live with mental illnesses to use assistive technology like an apple watch to determine what are the stress factors and indicators through their heart rate."

His tool is needed now more than ever. According to House Call Wisconsin, they believe 33% of the population in Wisconsin suffers from mental illness. Back in 2018, they say more than 73,000 people were treated in the state.

Amy Herbst, Vice President of Mental and Behavioral Health at Children's Wisconsin believes those numbers have skyrocketed with kids since the pandemic.

"We've seen some really concerning data," said Herbst.

Children's Wisconsin believes 1 in 5 kids are living with serious mental illness which equates to about 250,000 children in the state.

"We've seen a significant increase in families calling us asking for help and we saw an increase in kids in terms of anxiety and also depression. We really need to get to a place where weren't just reducing the stigma we are eliminating the stigma."

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