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:

• The Strategy 1 work team is increasing the capacity of the youth serving workforce through a two-hour Building Youth Resilience workshop that was developed by project partners. The workshop addresses Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and provides detailed information on youth resilience. Through March 2019, 16 organizations and approximately 450 youth-serving professionals from education, healthcare, community-based organizations, and government attended the workshop.
• Survey results from workshop attendees indicate that 92% of youth serving professionals increased awareness of protective factors that build resilience and support youth mental health, and 89% increased ideas for specific actions to take in their work to help youth build resilience.
• The Strategy 2 work team is initially partnering with two school districts to build staff skills in mindfulness to positively impact school climate and youth social-emotional skills. One of the school districts received training in mindfulness practice and strategies and school staff completed the six-session course in December 2018. Pre/post survey results show 91% of staff agree that mindfulness has helped them cope with stressful situations. Although the school has not yet completed their work with the implementation coach to identify strategies to bring mindfulness to students, two out of three participants indicated they have already used mindfulness strategies with students and 95% want to learn about mindfulness strategies to use with students. Staff who use mindfulness strategies in the classroom report positive coping and decreased stress for both themselves and their students. The survey also revealed the trainings led to improvements in several measures including in mindfulness practices, stress, classroom environment, and staff burnout.
• The Strategy 3 work team built upon its success in the first year of the project by promoting the 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.

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