County’s Behavioral Health Division partners with organizations to promote speaking out against stigma of mental illness
MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele today declared May as Mental Health Month and May 5 as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. With the announcement, the County’s Behavioral Health Division kicked off a month long campaign to increase awareness of mental health issues and support, and generate conversations to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
View Abele’s proclamation here.
“Approximately 180,000 people in Milwaukee County struggle with mental illness,” said Abele. “During a recent public hearing, a number of residents shared their stories and let us know that the stigma of mental illness causes them to suffer in silence. We can’t let this happen. Our Behavioral Health Division has expanded access to community-based mental health services, and we are continuing this expansion. We want people to know support is available and recovery is possible.”
Every week throughout May the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division will highlight a different mental health topic, sharing stories, information and resources on social media and e-blasts and asking people to tweet about life with a mental illness using the #mentalillnessfeelslike.
This week, the focus is children’s mental health. According to the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 1 in 5 children have a mental illness. Today, BHD will display artwork in its main-street area produced by youth in their programs and at 12 noon, nearly 100 division employees will participate in an afternoon of play with Playworks Wisconsin. The team-building activities focus on the importance of play on mental health and well-being and are inclusive of age, gender, culture and ability.
“We know that engaging people in conversations about mental illness and in their active recovery is extremely important,” says Alicia Modjeska, Interim Administrator at the Behavioral Health Division. “When it comes to our youth, diagnosing a mental illness early is so important to their recovery.”
The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division serves youth through a number of programs that will be highlighted throughout the week.
- Wraparound Services – A managed care program designed to provide comprehensive, individualized and cost effective care to children with complex mental health and emotional needs.
- Mobile Urban Treatment Team (MUTT) – 24/7 crisis intervention services and community supports for families caring for children who have complex behavioral health needs. This includes runaway situations, parent-child conflicts, emotional crisis, mental health incidences, and even children affected by violent crime. When a crisis occurs, the MUTT team responds immediately by phone and are able to meet with the youth at home, school or at the scene of an incident.
- Art therapy – Children served onsite at BHD have access to school programs including art therapy. This week, BHD will display children’s artwork throughout the building.
- CORE – A new program at BHD that focuses on early detection of psychosis among youth.
This year, Mental Health America (MHA) created the theme Life with a Mental Illness to encourage individuals to give voice to what it really means to live mental illness and remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable seeking the help they need. BHD and MHA encourage the public to get their children screened to detect signs of mental illness.
An online screening is available at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screen/youth.
For more information on Mental Health Month, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may for fact sheets on realizing the critical importance of addressing mental health early, recognizing the risk factors and signs of mental illness, understanding what mental illness is and isn’t, and how and where to get help when needed.
For more information or to schedule an interview with a BHD expert, contact Katy Glodosky at 920-627-2619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division
The Behavioral Health Division provides care and treatment to adults, children, and adolescents with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual disabilities through both County-operated programs and contracts with community agencies. Services include intensive short-term treatment through our crisis services and inpatient services, as well as a full array of supportive community services for persons with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.