Eau Claire Mental Health Matters (Phase II)

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II: Decreasing the number of youth at risk for depression

Full Project Name:Mental Health Matters: Promoting resilience for Chippewa Valley youthPrimary Community Organization:Eau Claire City-County Health DepartmentPrimary Academic Partner:Michelle Broaddus, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$1,000,000
Award Date
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II

Reporting four or more ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) is an indicator of future poor mental health outcomes, and this risk factor is present in one in seven of all community members in Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties. Additionally, current data indicate that approximately 30% (3,600) of area middle and high school public school students are at risk for depression as reported on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

With a focus on factors that will protect youth from developing depression, including for youth with exposure to ACEs, this project seeks to decrease the number of middle- and high school-age youth who are at risk for depression by 15% (from 28% to 24%) by:

• Increasing capacity of the youth-serving workforce across sectors to build protective factors and resilience for Eau Claire and Chippewa county youth

• Building staff skills to contribute to a positive school climate and youth social-emotional skills

• Creating policy and change practice to improve youth mental health and resilience through use of a systematic, sustainable approach to data-driven decision-making


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:

  • Increased the capacity of the youth serving workforce by developing a two-hour Building Youth Resilience workshop that addresses Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and provides detailed information on youth resilience and successfully transitioned the workshop and resources to a virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, more than 35 workshops have been delivered to 39 Chippewa Valley youth-serving agencies, reaching more than 874 youth-serving professionals from education, health care, community-based organizations, and government sectors. Survey results from the workshop indicated that:
    • 89% of workshop participants reported an increased awareness of protective factors that build resilience and support youth mental health
    • 80% reported increased ideas for specific actions to take in their work to help youth build resilience, with 80% of those completing evaluations writing in a specific action they plan to take
    • Follow-up evaluations continue to indicate that organizations are adapting practices, including how to address student trauma, or using new strategies, such as mindfulness
  • Engaged area schools in a mindfulness project aimed at positively impacting school climate and youth social-emotional skills, documenting that the project is having the intended effect on staff who are trained in mindfulness practices. Following the training and implementation, surveys indicate:
    • An increase in both the percentage of staff who agree that mindfulness has helped them cope in stressful situations and the percentage of staff who report using mindfulness strategies with students
    • A majority of staff agree that mindfulness has impacted students' overall behavior, helped students focus and stay on task, helped their ability to complete tasks, and helped them cope or self-calm
  • Promoted administration of the Youth Risk Behavioral Survey (YRBS) in all 11 school districts in both middle and high schools. All public schools and one private school completed the 2019 YRBS using a new system developed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Developed Chippewa County and Eau Claire County Youth Mental Health Scorecards as well as a process to and materials to share the scorecards with school districts and community partners in the five sectors of youth-serving professionals

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