Madison
73° F
Scattered Clouds
Scattered Clouds
Advertisement

Proposal would put mental health care programs in schools

By Dave Delozier, ddelozier@wisctv.com
Published On: Jun 16 2014 08:06:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 16 2014 09:05:26 PM CDT

The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread is advocating for a fundamental change that would put mental health care services directly into schools for children who need them.

MADISON, Wis. -

The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread is advocating for a fundamental change that would put mental health care services directly into schools for children who need them.

The foundation has spent three years studying the problem of an under-served portion of the community.

They found that one in five children ages 5 to 17 have a diagnosable mental health disorder and that 80 percent do not receive the treatment they need. The concern is lack of services and treatment prepares the children to fail once they become adults.

“Like any illness when something goes untreated it worsens,” said Kathryn Wennig, with Dane County's National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Children who do not get treatment for mental health concerns also struggle in school, experts say.

“Many of these kids have escalating behaviors. They end up with truancies, with suspensions, behavioral problems. Many of them resort to bullying and depression. In the extreme situations there are links to violence,” said Karen Johnston, mental health consultant for Fox Cities.

Six years ago 10 school districts and 23 area schools in Fox Cities began placing mental health care professionals in the schools. They did so with the assistance of funds provided by the United Way and other grants.

The program has seen results.

“We’ve seen improved academics for kids that had academic issues coming into the program. We’ve seen less truancy and suspensions in some of the district,” Johnston said. “One of the real issues in the Fox Cities that we went into this looking at is a high rate of suicide in one of our school districts. We’ve seen some success and a reduction in suicides among adolescent behavior.”

Throughout Wisconsin the interest in school-based mental health care is growing.

“We’ve grown to understand that much more in the last five years. We’re part of a national movement that way,” said Jeannette Deloya, coordinator of mental health supports at Madison Schools. “There are 25 different states in the country that have adopted school-based mental health models.”

While there is a cost associated with developing a school-based mental health program, advocates say the price is higher to not create one.

“I would say we can’t afford not to do it. I think it is one of those things that it is a long-term investment that saves us money in the long run,” Wennig said.

They see the money spent to provide mental health care to children in need as an investment in the future.

“We have a disproportionate number of kids who really end up in corrections, which costs us more money in the long run. So to me this is the best prevention model that you can have,” Johnston said.

Advertisement
  • iOS 8

    From Apple

    Best new Apple iOS 8 features

    Apple's iOS 8 is here, and it's packed with slick new features. Take a look at some of the best changes to the latest version of the popular mobile operating system.

  • Testing for Ebola

    REUTERS/Misha Hussain

    Common myths about Ebola

    At least eight Ebola aid workers and journalists were reportedly murdered in a remote village in Guinea in a brutal example of growing distrust locals have of foreigners coming to help stem the mushrooming health crisis. Take a look at common myths about the deadly virus.

  • Police lights file 2

    Ridiculous 911 calls

    Have you ever considered calling 911 because of a massive spider in your house? How about because a McDonald's employee got your order wrong? Take a look at some of the strangest reasons people have recently called 911.

  • C3K-EVENTS

    Events calendar

    Looking for something to do? Visit Channel 3000's events section featuring dining, food, music and family-friendly events throughout Madison and the surrounding area.

  • Get your weather app

    Channel3000.com and WISC-TV3 deliver local forecasts, live radar, school closings and alerts for Madison and South Central Wisconsin to iOS or Android devices.

  • Learn more about WISC-TV

    Meet the News 3 staff, learn about our newscasts, search our job postings and find out how to contact us.

Advertisement