Creating Mental Wellness in Brown County

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II: Reducing the number of poor mental health days in Brown County

Full Project Name:Creating Mental Wellness Through Systems ChangePrimary Community Organization:Connections for Mental WellnessPrimary Academic Partner:Michelle Broaddus, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$999,960
Award Date
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II

Collected annually, the measure of poor mental health days asks community residents a key question: "Thinking about your mental health, which includes stress, depression and problems with emotions, for how many days in the past 30 days was your mental health not good?"

In analyzing data relevant to Brown County, it was identified that 33% of employed adults reported one or more poor mental health day and 12% of employed respondents reported 10 or more poor mental health days per month. In addition, 93% of Brown County adults who contemplated suicide in 2016 were employed.

To address the needs of this population and support better access to services and systems to provide mental health support across the community, project partners seek to reduce the incidence of poor mental health days per capita in Brown County by 1.5% per year for the next five years (totaling 7.5%), lowering poor mental health days from 40.8 to 37.8 by 2022 by:

  • Supporting 125 workplaces with 25 or more employees (20% of employers in Brown Co.) in adopting or modifying mental health/wellness programs, policies or practices to address employee stress, psychological trauma and/or depression
  • Increasing community access points to mental health services and information through multiple community sectors
  • Developing a local workforce of employment-ready mental health counselors to increase community capacity to provide services


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 community coalition, Connections for Mental Wellness (Connections), that consists of five workgroups with representation of the various sectors/organizations within the community. The coalition established a common agenda, aligned components of their organizations where/when appropriate, and established new collaborations between organizations, which in turn strengthens Connections, and ultimately Brown County’s, ability to improve the mental health of the community. As trust and collaboration among stakeholders continues to grow, different systems within Brown County are working more collectively instead of in silos, a large accomplishment for Connections and for Brown County as a whole
  • Launched a Network of Care/ website as a community resource, documenting more than 77,000 visits and 141,000 views since launch; Partnered with eight public/nonprofit mental health providers and health systems to pilot a Social Network of Care message board on the website to help with interagency referrals and warm handoffs
  • Coordinated outreach and engagement of local businesses around mental health for employees by creating a package to promote best practice models, resources, and training for businesses to utilize in addressing mental wellness concerns. The package includes a Connections brochure, literature on the Identify, Connect, Understand Program, mental health first aid training information, menu of options and has been updated to include a mental health and wellness whiteboard video highlighting resources available
  • Established a Crisis Response Protocol Guide for businesses
  • Partnered with faith communities to create "Mental Health Champions" position description for faith communities
  • Increased the number of non-traditional access points in the community that are trained in mental health by hosting 14 trainings for 275 participants from more than 20 different agencies in Adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA); established an online platform to host trainings virtually during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Increased the number of trainee opportunities, resulting in 45 current trainee opportunieis now available within Brown County. The number continues to grow as agencies and supervisors grow their capacity and as needs continue to increase within the community
  • Hosted a Creating Hope event geared twoard faith and spiritual leaders in Brown County. The event included basic mental health information and education, perspective from a person with lived experience, and how faith/spiritual leaders play a role in helping individuals struggling with mental health issues/concerns. Follow-up from the event indicated that faith leaders were interested in education around how to recognize and address mental health issues and how to appropriately refer those who are struggling
  • Partnered with the City of Green Bay Police Department, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Brown County with in-kind support from N.E.W. Psychiatry Program (MCW-Green Bay) to host a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for 40 law enforcement officers. This training is designed for law enforcement officers and dispatchers who, in their duties, are frequently called upon to deal with individuals who are living with mental illness

AHW Logo

8701 W Watertown Plank Road,
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
(414) 955-4350