Chippewa Valley awarded $1 million to support Youth Mental Health

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Eau Claire City-County Health Department released the following news release.

After a year of planning, the Mental Health Matter’s project was awarded funding for the next five years by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The goal of the grant is to promote youth resilience and mental health in the Chippewa Valley. This funding is part of AHW’s initiative focused on improving community behavioral health. As part of its mission to improve health in Wisconsin, AHW supports community projects that lead to improvements in health at the local level.

Locally, eighteen organizations from Chippewa and Eau Claire counties came together over the last year to form the Mental Health Matters Coalition and complete the first phase of the initiative. They found that 28% of local middle and high school-age youth felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row in the last year. To change this, the coalition looked to strategies to build resilience, or the ability of youth to adapt to difficulties. All youth, including those who have a history with adverse childhood experiences, can be supported by factors that increase resilience.

“Mental health is a complex issue that will take all of us working together to support those who work with youth. Our work will ensure that youth have the tools necessary for resiliency to cope with stress and adversity,” says Angie Weideman, Director/Officer of Chippewa County Public Health.

As the project moves into the next phase, it will focus on providing information and resources for youth-serving professionals in the Chippewa Valley to increase understanding of the connections between youth mental health and adverse childhood experiences, trauma, protective factors, and resilience, and identify every day actions to support resilient youth. In addition to resources for the workforce, the project will support mindfulness stress reduction strategies in schools. And key decision-makers at schools and other community organizations will benefit from a newly developed data system around mental health.

“We are thankful to the funders for providing our community with the opportunity to focus on prevention. Prevention activities have a direct correlation to healthy communities. We know that strong communities raise strong kids,” says Diane Cable, Director of Eau Claire County Department of Human

The following organizations serve on the Mental Health Matters Coalition:

Chippewa County Public Health Department
Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership
Chippewa County Department of Human Services
Chippewa Falls Police Department
Chippewa Falls Unified School District
Eau Claire Area School District
Eau Claire County Department of Human Services
Eau Claire City-County Health Department
Eau Claire Healthy Communities
Eau Claire Police Department
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital
HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital
Joining our Neighbors Advancing Hope (JONAH)
Marshfield Clinic
Mayo Clinic Health System
Security Health Plan
United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley
UW Extension-Eau Claire County

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