Full Project Name:Healthy Teen MindsPrimary Community Organization:Winnebago County Health DepartmentPrimary Academic Partner:Michelle Broaddus, PhD
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$1,000,000Project Duration:60 months
Project Description Narrative:
Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II
High rates of teen depression and suicide-related behaviors among youth in Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties is a serious public health issue in the tri-county region. County-level Youth Risk Behavior Survey data indicate that area youth are attempting suicide at nearly twice the rate of the state and national average. Depression is the No. 1 risk factor for suicide. Currently, 24.6% of tri-county teens surveyed reported being sad or hopeless, a rate the this been slowly increasing for several years. This project aims to reverse that trend, reducing the number of students in grades 9-12 who are at risk for or who are experiencing depression by 20% (from 24.6% to 19.7%) by June 2022 by:
• Improving the school climate by increasing social connectedness for students through building relationships with peers and trusted adults
• Implementing programs aimed at developing healthy coping skills from an early age as well as creating an environment that supports healthy sleep among adolescents
• Screening for signs and symptoms of mental health challenges as a necessary step to address and improve mental health by identifying those who have or are at risk for having depression and also referring them to services
• Connecting youth who have or are at risk for having depression to mental health services in the community by increasing use of help-seeking resources and by developing a local, user-friendly service navigation website
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.
• Sources of Strength (Sources) continues to gain momentum. Sources is an evidence-based suicide prevention and mental wellness program that uses peer leaders, with the support of adult advisors, to change the environment by spreading positive messages across whole populations to reinforce social norms around hope, resiliency, and a sense of connectedness to peers and adults. Sources has now been implemented in eight school districts and twelve middle and high school buildings.
• This year the project invested in developing a second trained-trainer for Sources to keep up with the demand for the program and to provide ongoing support to schools. The third Cohort, scheduled for training in the fall of 2019, will add five high schools, and will broaden the reach and impact of the program.
• Project partners continue to build awareness in the community about the connection of sleep and mental health. In May, 2018, a campaign called “Teens Need Zzz’s” was launched in conjunction with May Mental Health Awareness Month. The kickoff event received media attention and was designed in part by a student marketing team.
• The Network of Care website for the tri-county area is well established and provides a one-stop shop for mental health and substance abuse information, resources, and service navigation in Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties.
• From July 1, 2018 to present, there have been over 59,000 visits to the website (averaging over 200 visits per day) and 387 individuals have taken the anonymous online screener. Project partners are continually promoting this website with social media, printed materials, and word of mouth. Wallet cards and posters are popular among coalition members, especially schools and health systems.