Better Together – get involved
Better Together in La Crosse County is an 8-year project funded by the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Project of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin. La Crosse County is one of 10 communities in the state of Wisconsin who received funding to work on improving behavioral health among its youth. The Better Together project seeks to reduce the number of youth, ages 12-18, who are at risk for depression. To achieve this goal, we are using four strategies:
- Increasing the resilience and social connectedness among youth ages 12-18 by collaborating with schools on a variety of activities.
- Increasing the capacity of informal supports to assist and respond to potential mental health challenges among youth and their families by using evidence-based training curricula such as Youth Mental Health First Aid.
- Identifying key system integration changes to improve access of mental health interventions for youth.
- Increasing knowledge and improving attitudes about mental wellness, mental health, and mental illness among the general community in La Crosse County by employing a community awareness campaign.
If you would like to become involved, Better Together has a number of opportunities for you. Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour training that helps people recognize and respond to a youth who may be suffering from a mental health challenge. This training is for everyone. Over 200 parents, teachers, faith leaders, youth workers, and law enforcement have all been trained in our community. Register for an upcoming training.
Recognizing the role of Resilience in our community has become a top priority for many who work with youth. In her TED talk, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, physician and featured author about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), states that ACEs is the number one public health crisis in our country. When left unaddressed in youth, toxic stress has the potential to seriously impact effective learning, can lead to substance abuse, and eventually poor health outcomes as an adult. But we all have the capacity to build resilience, especially if we change our perspective from “what’s wrong with you?” to “what happened to you?” Better Together along with many other community partners is leading the effort to help our community build resilience. To learn more and to register for an education session that includes screening the film Resilience, please contact Better Together Project Coordinator, Bethany Thier, at firstname.lastname@example.org.