Our seven key mental and behavioral health initiatives

Children’s Wisconsin has identified seven initiatives that it could implement in the next five years to help address the growing mental and behavioral health crisis facing Wisconsin kids. 

The need for mental health services is increasing, as reported by the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health. In the group’s 2017 annual report, kids and teens in Wisconsin are hospitalized for a mental health condition at more than four times the national rate. At the same time, Wisconsin’s youth suicide rate increased more than the national rate from 2015 to 2016, and remains significantly higher than most of the United States.

Driven by the vision that Wisconsin kids will be the healthiest in the nation, Children’s Wisconsin is committed to providing better mental and behavioral health services. Children’s Wisconsin already treats thousands of kids with mental and behavioral health challenges every year through programs at primary care and specialty clinics, hospitals in Milwaukee and Neenah, and in schools and communities throughout the state.

These seven initiatives are designed to detect mental and behavioral health needs sooner, improve access to services, and reduce the stigma around the illness. 

The seven initiatives are: 

Universal screening for mental health 
Expanding screening for depression and anxiety throughout the health system, regardless of the reason for the visit.

Early childhood mental health
Creating a hub to anchor and coordinate the work of multiple specialists and programs providing early childhood mental health.

School-based mental and behavioral health
Expanding school-based programs throughout Wisconsin.

Integrated mental and behavioral health
Offering integrated mental and behavioral health services in the primary care offices and specialty clinics.

Therapist Fellowship Program
Providing a stipend to master’s-level therapists to decrease the amount of time to earn their license.

Urgent and emergent mental health
Offering a dedicated, fully-staffed pediatric psychiatric assessment team in the Children’s Wisconsin Emergency Department.

Partnerships with inpatient and residential care providers
Improving inpatient residential access and service through Children’s Wisconsin support of other health systems.