Tony Evers has asked for $6 million “to expand mental health services for students, including hiring more social workers, establishing clinics in schools and training school staff” (Post-Crescent) because “20 percent of students live with mental health problems, but 80 percent don’t get professional help” (Post-Crescent). The Wisconsin Department of Instruction has created a webpage to help publicize Wisconsin school children’s need for mental health help. Governor Walker’s budget provides for Evers’s requests: “About $3 million. . . aims to put more social workers in schools. Another $2.5 million seeks to expand treatment options for students on or off campus by offering grants to schools with community mental health partners. Walker’s budget would also provide $420,000 to help train school staff to recognize and react to mental challenges” (Post-Crescent).
In 2013, mental health advocates succeeded in pushing forward a broad package of mental health reforms (Post-Crescent). According to DPI and Governor Walker releases such as this one, cited by the Sheboygan Falls School District, one out of every 5 of Wisconsin’s school children face mental health issues, and 80% of those affected students never receive any help. This year, legislators continue to work to address mental health, including resources at the school level.
Most school districts agree there is increased need for mental health, as backed by such studies as the Dane County Youth Risk Survey. Schools will welcome mental health assistance.