Mental Health Access in Rural Southwestern Wisconsin

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II: Reducing poor mental health days in southwestern Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Advancing Access to Improved Mental Health in Rural Southwestern WisconsinPrimary Community Organization:Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action ProgramPrimary Academic Partner:Michelle Broaddus, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$1,000,000
Award Date
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II

National and transnational agencies including CDC, WHO, and the British NHS are adopting well-being scales as a general measure of population-based mental health. Well-being is a composite of several measures, however a key component is the number of days that individuals report good mental health. In addition, in the U.S., data indicate that one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental illness each year, but more than half will not seek treatment. Recognizing an immediate need to improve overall mental and behavioral health outcomes in the Grant County, Green County, Iowa County, Lafayette County and Richland County communities, the project team aims to reduce the rate of adults experiencing 14 or more days of poor mental health by 10% within the five-county region in southwestern Wisconsin by:

  • Increasing the acceptability of mental health treatment across the adult population of the five-county region so that more people will be willing to utilize mental health services
  • Increasing the accessibility of mental health treatment through development of conduits to a comprehensive network of services
  • Increasing the availability of mental health services so that people can receive timely and appropriate care

This project is part of AHW's Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative, an eight-year, $20 million initiative bringing together 10 community coalitions from across Wisconsin to address pressing mental health needs within their communities. The initiative is designed in three phases, providing a funded planning year, a five-year implementation period, and a two-year sustainable transformation phase.

Project Updates:

  • Established a county coalition guided by a steering committee of partner representatives. Drafted a steering committee charter. Utilized an asset-based community development approach to evaluate project plans, adapting plans to accommodate timelines and community and coalition readiness factors
  • Contributed to efforts to build local capacity through provision of trainings that include Stigma Basics, Up to Me, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), MHFA-lite, and Crisis Intervention
  • Built a regional Trilogy Network of Care website, establishing a workgroup of county representatives to provide input and feedback
  • Established relationships to produce an addiction and recovery resource guide to enable warm hand-offs to appropriate resources through law enforcement, probation and parole, schools and health care
  • Began exploration of how community systems deal with crisis calls and identified priorities for future action
  • Hosted a regional Mental Health Summit
  • Responded to mental health needs during COVID-19 pandemic through launch of a stigma reduction social media and radio campaign, hosting of a virtual summit, and shifted resources to web-based platforms to increase reach and access

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