3 ways Wisconsin is tackling its kids’ mental health crisis

3 ways Wisconsin is tackling its kids’ mental health crisis

Credit: Milwaukee Independent

By Christina Lorey

January 30, 2024

The stats are staggering:

👉🏽 52% of Wisconsin students report having anxiety

👉🏽 34% say they’re sad or hopeless everyday

👉🏽 22% report they’ve harmed themselves

👉🏽 25% of female students say they’ve “seriously considered suicide”

The results from the Wisconsin DPI’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey are, in a single word, alarming. In addition to the COVID pandemic, today’s students say extreme political division, heavy use of social media, fear of mass shootings, and economic uncertainty are the main factors hurting their mental health.

On top of that, this problem is even worse in rural parts of the state. As first reported by PBS Wisconsin:

👉🏽 Florence County only has one counselor or therapist for every 4,300 students.

👉🏽 Pepin County only has one mental health provider for every 7,300 students.

👉🏽 Buffalo County only has one mental health provider for every 13,000 students.

The American School Counselor Association recommends one in-school counselor for every 250 students.

So what’s being done? A variety of people, schools, and programs are stepping in different ways to make whatever impact they can.

💙 UW-La Crosse created an online program for teachers who want to become school psychologists, which is geared towards rural educators.

💙 Merrill High School launched a Raise Your Voice club, where students learn about different mental health problems and help each other.

💙 And the country launched 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, where anyone call call at any hour for free and confidential support through a breakdown.

RELATED: Why You Should Stop Using the Phrase ‘Committed Suicide’


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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