A Healthier Wisconsin

Healthy Teen Minds in Winnebago, Outagamie & Calumet Counties

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II: Reducing the number of students at risk for or are experiencing depression

Full Project Name:Healthy Teen MindsPrimary Community Organization:Winnebago County Health DepartmentPrimary Academic Partner:Michelle Broaddus, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$1,000,000.00
Award Date
Project 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.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Implemented Sources of Strength, an evidence-based suicide prevention program, through a region-wide approach reaching 420 school staff and over 960 students across three middle schools and 19 high schools
  • Engaged 14 provisional trainers representing eight school districts on track to become certified school-based trainers for Sources of Strength, obtained commitment from CESA 6 to sustain implementation of the program, and supported partner ThedaCare to support implementation of the program across six adjacent counties
  • Implemented a mental health service navigation website to serve as a one-stop mental health resource allowing users to search every mental health and substance use provider in Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties
  • Implemented an online mental health screener and embedded the tool in the mental health service navigation website resulting in almost 14,000 screeners taken
  • Supporting partner ThedaCare, the community's largest healthcare provider, in instituting a policy change to include a mental health screener in its annual primary care physicals for all patients ages 12 and up

Related Projects

AHW Logo

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