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Chippewa Valley awarded $1 million grant for youth mental health

(WEAU)
Published: Sep. 29, 2017 at 6:37 PM CDT
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After a year of planning, the Chippewa Valley’s Mental Health Matters project has been awarded $1 million in funding for the next five years by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

“We required the applicants to demonstrate that they were applying as a multi-sectored network of partners and we really refer to that as a strong community coalition so we wanted to see active engagement not just from one organization,” says Tim Meister, Program Officer for Medical College of Wisconsin.

Eighteen organizations from Chippewa and Eau Claire counties came together over the last year to form the Mental Health Matters Coalition in order to meet requirements for the grant. After a competitive application process, the Chippewa Valley is one of 10 communities that have received grant funding throughout the state of Wisconsin to improve mental health in their communities. Grant sponsors say the Chippewa Valley showed a need for assistance.

A recent assessment showed that 28 percent of middle and high school young felt sad or hopeless almost every day for at least a two week period. This new funding will help the Mental Health Matters project form additional resources and staff to help fight these issues.

“It was identified that mental health is a top health priority in the Chippewa Valley so we had many leaders that came together to address that and there is energy behind what can we do to prevent mental illness in our community,” says Brenda Scheurer, Project Director.

The grant involves the partnership of many organizations in the Chippewa Valley, including UW-Extension. “I think it’s going to be a game changer for our community. As our community coalitions are working on this, we understand that this is a huge complex issue and it’s not going to be better overnight but we are really moving that needle and doing what we can as a community to address the issues around mental health,” says Brook Berg, Family Living Educator.