Dane County has awarded five local school districts over $265,554 in funding to help meet the behavioral health needs of K-12 kids. County Executive Joe Parisi announced that the funding will help school increase mental health staffing and resources to support teachers, youth, and their families.
According to the 2021 Dane County Youth Assessment, data shows increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidality, and self-harm among Dane County middle and high school youth. In December 2021, the US Surgeon General issued an advisory to address the nation’s youth and mental health crisis that has been heightened during the pandemic.
To address this crisis, funding was authorized by the County Executive and County Board as part of the 2022 Dane County budget, after seeking proposals from local school districts with the goal of hiring staff or contract with providers when school starts this fall. Funding will be provided for the next couple of years for programs that will include individual and group mental health or substance use treatment services. These services will be available within school buildings, via telehealth platforms, or specific outreach for students not yet engaged in mental health or substance use treatment.
“With this funding, Dane County and local school districts will be able to enhance mental health supports for students heading into the new school year,” said Parisi in a statement. “Dane County remains committed to addressing the behavioral health needs of our young people, especially given the challenging events that have unfolded over the past few years. We are excited to partner with these five school districts to meet students where they are at and provide the support services they need to thrive.”
Recipients include the Madison Metropolitan School District ($62,558.80) who is proposing outreach using a bilingual mental health navigator; Oregon School District ($49,552.24) who will be expanding direct mental health and substance abuse services with existing community providers to their district; Stoughton Area School District ($90,105.60) who is hiring a Mental Health Coordinator to develop and facilitate referral pathways; Sun Prairie Area School District ($43,200) who is expanding mental health capacity through their partnership with Catholic Charities; and Wisconsin Heights School District ($20,137.60) who is starting a telehealth service using DotCom therapy.