Wisconsin school-based mental health initiatives 2023


During the national mental health crisis, Wisconsin school-based mental health initiatives are growing.

Mental Health America found that over 16% of 12–17-year-olds had a significant depressive episode last year.

Wisconsin has fewer adults reporting unmet mental health needs than other states.

More adults are seeking therapy and fewer kids are reported for emotional problems in their personalized education program.

Kids are suffering, according to the CDC.

67% of high schoolers found academics harder. 55% reported emotional abuse and 11% physical violence in the family.

Wisconsin topped the State of Mental Health in America survey. Child mental health placed fourth.

Many Wisconsin schools provide mental health programming.

REDgen—”Resilience through education for a new generation”—is one of them. It began in 2013 and has grown as youth mental health needs rise.

After many communal suicides, REDgen began. The initiative helps Milwaukee County schoolchildren with mental health challenges.

Many kids love high school.

Jariel Ramos, a high school junior, has struggled.

“High school is hard, but we make the most of it,” Ramos added.

After his cousin died, Ramos suffered with anxiety and sadness.

Ramos stated he was in darkness. “Luckily, I found REDgen and people who related to me, who knew my struggles, and I knew I wasn’t alone.”

Ramos’ company. Nearly half of Wisconsin high schoolers express anxiety, according to the Coalition for Expanding School-Based Mental Health. 25% are depressed.

Wisconsin was one of the top five states for deliberate self-harm from six to 22.

“We talk about it like it’s normal now,” Ramos added. “Everyone talks about therapy or counseling.”

37-year Pius XI Catholic High School counselor Suzanne Lovinus. She likes and proudly does it.

“It’s not rare for our students to talk to us for the first time, sometimes some of the things they are feeling, experiencing, trying to navigate in their own mind, before they tell other people, including their family members,” Lovinus added.

Lovinus said she’s seeing more pupils asking for guidance and feeling comfortable doing so.

She believes REDgen’s integration into schools is responsible.

21 Wisconsin schools use REDgen. One of several school-based mental health programs in the state.

Nearly 40 Milwaukee Public Schools also provide mental health programming. REDgen lets students and staff discuss new subjects weekly. They promote mental health awareness at school and link needy youngsters with adults.

REDgen Executive Director Lisamarie Arnold stated their programming focuses on peer-to-peer assistance.

Arnold stated, “Students talk to students.” They can now talk to pupils. They are school leaders, therefore people will talk to them.”

Ramos joined REDgen years ago. He became a school leader through the organization.

“REDgen has changed my life,” Ramos remarked. I’ve used what I’ve learnt here to every aspect of my life. It changed my perspective.”

Ramos has taught other pupils about mental health and even raised awareness at his high school.

Leave a Reply