A Healthier Wisconsin

Coordinated Community Response to Behavioral Health Crisis

Transforming behavioral health crisis and response in Douglas County

Full Project Name:Douglas County Coordinated Community Response to Behavioral Health CrisisPrimary Community Organization:North Country Independent LivingPrimary Academic Partner:Michelle Broaddus, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$475,347
Award Date
Project Duration:42 months

Project Description Narrative:

A 2015 Bridge to Health survey found that in Douglas County, 29% of residents experience anxiety, 23% experience depression, and 10% report having other mental health issues. Despite both a 2016 and 2019 Community Health Assessment identifying mental health as a top public health issue, inventory of behavioral health resources in the county shows significant gaps in care. This has resulted in those experiencing a behavioral health crisis in Douglas County cycling through an under-resourced system, being placed on wait lists, using the ER as a primary mental health resources, and often being stabilized far from home at a higher level of care than needed.

Local partners see the current system as in need of urgent reform and began meeting to create a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) group to understand individual agency work, research crisis stabilization models, and build hope and cooperation across agencies. Through this funding, project partners will change the crisis response system in Douglas County to one that works to prevent crisis as well as one that is more efficient, effective, and person centered.

Community partners: Superior Police Department, Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center, St. Lukes-Mariner Medical, Douglas County Health and Human Services, Lake Superior Community Health Center, Creative Counseling Group, Superior Treatment Center, University of Wisconsin-Superior, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse, Harbor House Crisis Shelter, Superior High School, Family Forum Head Start

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Continued to build a network of stakeholders, building trust for buy-in and partnership
  • Established a strong Advisory Board to begin planning for our systems mapping process
  • Created an in-depth plan and prepared to begin implementation of stakeholder interviews for baseline data collection
  • Made an intentional effort to engage consumer voice in the process through outreach to interview consumers to gain their perspective and through the onboarding of Certified Peer Specialists as part of the interview team
  • Finalized the interview guide and a brief survey, and submitted them for MCW IRB review and approval

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