Follow along as the Office of Children's Mental Health provides data and expert perspective on child well-being and system change!
See our OCMH monthly newsletters for children’s mental health in Wisconsin information.
Kids in Crisis – How Wisconsin educators are changing the way they teach to help kids' mental health (9/12/2023)
Wisconsin teachers are seeing the historically high levels of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation our youth are facing first hand in their classrooms. To ensure students are prepared to learn, they must prioritize their mental health.
Read the article: https://www.jsonline.com/story/series/kidsincrisis/2023/09/13/wisconsin-teachers-focus-on-mental-health-to-help-students/70562641007/
Mental health of teenage girls has declined twice as much as boys (8/21/23)
Data reported by the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health (OCMH) states 66% of young girls in Wisconsin struggle with anxiety, and 50% feel sad and hopeless nearly every day. “Girls are having some particularly troubling times right now," said Linda Hall, OCMH Director. Read the article: https://www.superiortelegram.com/news/wisconsin/mental-health-of-teenage-girls-has-declined-twice-as-much-as-boys
School Mental Health Works! Podcast
“School Mental Health Works!" is a podcast produced by the Coalition for Expanding School Based Mental Health in Wisconsin and is a series highlighting successes and challenges of school mental health programs. Episode 7 focuses on universal mental health screening in schools and features Office of Children's Mental Health Research Analyst Amy Marsman.
School-based mental health services a top priority for the Wis. Office of Children's Mental Health (6/29/23)
Schools are natural hubs for providing resources, including mental health services, but funding for mental health services has been grant based with no guarantees of future funding. Stable funding of school mental health is a priority.
Read the article: https://www.wsaw.com/2023/06/30/school-based-mental-health-services-top-priority-wis-office-childrens-mental-health/
Universal mental health screenings address well-being of Wisconsin's youth, help develop resilient mindsets (6/13/23)
The Racine County Eye reports on OCMH's Fact Sheet on Supporting Child Well-Being through Universal Screening noting that screening works to identify and address anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts occurring among youth in Wisconsin and then connect those individuals to resources.
Read the article: https://racinecountyeye.com/2023/06/13/universal-mental-health-screenings/
Connect to Improve Youth Mental Health (May 2023)
Our youth are facing a mental health crisis. Linda Hall, Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health Director, discusses what youth are facing and how social connectedness can make a difference.
Read the article: Wisconsin Counties, pgs. 26-27 https://indd.adobe.com/view/2107a5ae-18dc-4915-86b3-6a824949be3f
'Behavior is language': Schools share behaviors they're seeing in students, find out why (5/18/23)
School counselors and social workers at districts throughout north central Wisconsin said anxiety is the most pervasive of the three mental distresses – anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Read the article: https://www.wsaw.com/2023/05/18/behavior-is-language-schools-share-behaviors-theyre-seeing-students-finding-out-why/
The impact of toxic stress on youth mental health and 4 ways to reduce it (4/24/23)
Youth living in environments with consistently toxic levels of stress can have difficulty learning, working, behaving, and maintaining healthy relationships. The Office of Children's Mental Health suggests 4 ways to reduce toxic stress.
Read the article: https://racinecountyeye.com/2023/04/24/toxic-stress-youth-mental-health/
Many hurdles face youth mental health (4/13/23)
Six-week waits, 1 counselor for 8 rural districts – these are some of the hurdles facing youth mental health. "If you have a cold, you go to the doctor right away. If you have a mental health issue, you have to fill out a form that says you're not eating, that says you're not sleeping. You have to wait six weeks or longer to get an appointment," said Linda Hall, director of Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health.
Read the article: https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2023/04/12/school-based-counseling-in-northeast-wisconsin-is-difficult-to-obtain/69784873007/
Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health 2022 Annual Report
On January 13, 2023, the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health issued their 2022 Annual Report. Review the full report or watch the full recording. Below is some of the media coverage of the event and report:
715 Newsroom, CBS 58, Channel 3000, Fox 11 News, Lake Geneva Regional News, Spectrum News 1 Green Bay, Urban Milwaukee, WBAY Green Bay, WBAY Madison, Wisconsin Eye, Wisconsin Health News, Wisconsin Public Radio, WKOW Madison, WKBT News 8000, WQOW Eau Claire, WSAW, WTMJ4 Milwaukee.
Reviewing Children's Mental Health in 2022
Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health Director Linda Hall speaks on the problems Wisconsin students are experiencing with anxiety, as noted in the new Youth Risk Behavior Survey results from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Listen to the interview: https://www.wpr.org/director-wisconsin-office-childrens-mental-health-reviews-2022
How are Wisconsin's children faring? Topic of Wisconsin Eye discussion with OCMH Director Linda Hall (10/11/22)
Signs indicate the mental health of Wisconsin's kids, as well as youth nationwide, is getting worse. One month into the new school year, how are Wisconsin students faring, and what resources or supports are needed to reverse increasing rates of suicide, depression, and other mental health needs in our children?
WisEye Morning Minute Recap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMRCj46e3FM
Full WisEye Program: https://wiseye.org/2022/10/10/newsmakers-how-are-wisconsins-children-faring-office-of-childrens-mental-health/
Governor Evers, Superintendent Underly Welcome Kids Back to School, Announce Shared K-12 Priorities for 2023-25 Budget (9/6/22)
An overview of Governor Evers' investments in education and recognition of the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health research. Meaningful, ongoing funding for education and mental health is recommended.
Read the entire press release: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIGOV/bulletins/32b60ad
OCMH Offers Back to School Guidance to Reduce Student Stress (8/25/22)
The Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health issued a press release highlighting resources to help families and schools. Notable items include the Department of Public Instruction's Comprehensive School Mental Health Framework, La Follette Comparative Analysis of Wisconsin School Mental Health Services, and the OCMH Brief on Student Mental Health.
Read the entire press release: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIDHS/bulletins/3299e14
Active Shooter drills, remote learning, teen angst: How Wisconsin parents can help kids' mental health as school returns (8/25/22)
With an uptick in anxiety, depression, and other behavioral health conditions among students, experts share advice on how parents can help their kids handle the start of a new school year.
Read the full article here: https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2022/08/25/how-prioritize-and-uplift-students-mental-health-back-to-school/10307970002/
As more children struggle with mental health, Wisconsin offers tools to support them (7/10/22)
With school out, many parents and guardians are spending more time with their children, and that presents an opportunity to check in on their mental health. The Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health says kids being socially connected is key.
Read the article here: https://www.superiortelegram.com/news/wisconsin/as-more-children-struggle-with-mental-health-wisconsin-offers-tools-to-support-them
Office of Children’s Mental Health focuses on preventing childhood lead poisoning (6/23/22)
Lead is a toxic metal that poisons the brain and body, and there is no safe blood lead level (BLL). That is a fact stated in the Office of Children's Mental Health latest Fact Sheet, Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning.
Read the article here: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/dept-of-health-services-office-of-childrens-mental-health-focuses-on-preventing-childhood-lead-poisoning/
Read the Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning Fact Sheet
Wisconsin's youth mental health crisis, explained (5/24/22)
Office of Children's Mental Health Director Linda Hall joins experts from Children's Wisconsin to discuss screenings that identify kids at risk and other newer approaches to combating the youth mental health crisis.
Listen to the program here: https://www.wpr.org/shows/wisconsins-youth-mental-health-crisis-explained
Local organization says Wisconsin children under 5 facing developmental delays due to pandemic (5/10/22)
Wisconsin Public Radio explores with First 5 Fox Valley why delays in a variety of motor and communications skills are happening in young children and how parents can address them. Office of Children's Mental Health data is referenced in the discussion.
Listen to the program here: https://www.wpr.org/local-organization-says-wisconsin-children-under-5-facing-developmental-delays-due-pandemic
A Shining Example of Youth Connection - The Goodman Center hosted the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health (2/4/22)
First Lady Kathy Evers, State Superintendent Jill Underly, DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson, and DHS Secretary Designee Karen Timberlake joined OCMH in learning how The Goodman Community Center supports Social Connectedness of Youth.
Read the article here: https://www.goodmancenter.org/blog/a-shining-example-of-youth-connection
Layers of Challenges Make Some Educators Feel This School Year Has Been Harder Than Last (1/25/22)
The current school year has presented many challenges to schools, students, and families – more than any expected. Office of Children's Mental Health Young Adult Lived Experience Partner Annie Leffel and Director Linda Hall share comments in the article.
Read the article here: https://www.wsaw.com/2022/01/26/layers-challenges-make-some-educators-feel-this-school-year-has-been-harder-than-last/
7 Signs Your Teen Might Be Depressed: A
Mental Health Expert’s Advice On What To Watch For (12/13/21)
Milwaukee Magazine consulted a mental health expert to identify the biggest red flags for teens experiencing depression. Data on Wisconsin youth, provided by OCMH, noted that nearly
one-third of Wisconsin high school students report feeling sad or hopeless
almost every day.
Read the article here: https://www.milwaukeemag.com/7-signs-your-teen-might-be-depressed-a-mental-health-experts-advice-on-what-to-watch-for/
Rise in Suicides among Black Youths Fuels Concern among Milwaukee Psychologists, Counselors (10/22/21)
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service cites the OCMH September 2021 Fact Sheet: In Wisconsin, about one in 10 Black youths have reported attempting suicide. From 2016 to 2019, national suicide rates among Black males ages 15 to 24 increased by 47%. In Black females, the increase was 59%.
Read the article here: https://milwaukeenns.org/2021/10/22/rise-in-suicides-among-black-youths-fuels-concern-among-milwaukee-psychologists-counselors/
WPR's “The West Side" Explores at Student Depression, Anxiety, Self-harm, and Suicidal Ideation (10/1/21)
OCMH Director Linda Hall spoke to “The West Side" host Clara Neupert about social challenges kids and teens are facing. She said: Almost 60% of Wisconsin students in grades 9 through 12 reported depression, anxiety, self-harm or suicidal ideation in 2019.
Listen to the discussion: https://www.wpr.org/shows/west-side-october-1-2021
Wisconsin Children’s Mental Health Fact Sheet Focuses on Improving Lives of LGBTQ Youth (6/8/21)
The Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health has published a new fact sheet highlighting the increased mental health challenges LGBTQ youth face and how the community can help improve the quality of life for LGBTQ youth.
Read the article here: https://www.tmj4.com/news/pride-month/wisconsin-childrens-mental-health-fact-sheet-focussing-on-improving-lives-for-lgbtq-youth
Children's Mental Health 2021-23 Budget Recommendations by OCMH (5/24/21)
The Office of Children’s Mental Health’s (OCMH) Director Linda Hall made budget recommendations to the Joint Finance Committee. If adopted, these recommendations would increase children’s access to critical mental health services and further children’s well-being.
Read the recommendations here: https://children.wi.gov/Documents/CMH%20Budget%20Recommendations%20-%20OCMH%205.24.21.pdf
Voices of Wisconsin Students Project – Wisconsin Students Feel Disconnected, Want More Mental Health Services (5/10/21)
Feedback from 160 middle and high school students about their learning environments and their mental health during the pandemic is reported in the Voices of Wisconsin Students Project report.
Read the full article here: https://www.wpr.org/report-wisconsin-students-feel-disconnected-want-more-mental-health-services
Teens Talk about How They Maintain Their Mental Health (5/7/21)
Youth panel discussion was part of a virtual event hosted by the state Office of Children's Mental Health as part of its Mental Health Awareness Week (May 2 – 8, 2021).
Read the full article here: https://www.wpr.org/teens-talk-about-how-they-maintain-their-mental-health
Number Of ER, Doctor Visits For Distressed Teens In Wisconsin Is High Compared To Other States (4/16/21)
Child advocates point to signs of distress to youth brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. One fact cited in this WPR article is Wisconsin is one of the top 5 states for having the most insurance claims submitted for intentional self-harm injuries during the pandemic.
Read the full article here: https://www.wpr.org/number-er-doctor-visits-distressed-teens-wisconsin-high-compared-other-states
Governor Evers Recognizes OCMH April Fact Sheet on Responding to COVID Changes at School (4/13/21)
While some students may be ready to head back to school others are feeling anxious and disconnected from teachers and peers. Students will need extra support to ensure positive emotional well-being and successful school outcomes. This is amid a time when Wisconsin is one of the top five states for having the most insurance claims submitted for intentional self-harm injuries during the pandemic.
Listen to Governor Evers' comments or read the entire Responding to COVID Changes at School Fact Sheet.
DOJ and Office of Children's Mental Health Partner to Help Youth When in Crisis (4/7/21)
Mental Health Crisis Card helps youth when in crisis. The Office of Children’s Mental Health and the Department of Justice Office of School Safety announce a tool to help calm youth when experiencing an agitated state or mental health crisis.
Read the full press release: https://www.doj.state.wi.us/news-releases/doj-and-office-children%E2%80%99s-mental-health-partner-help-youth-when-crisis
OCMH presents data and recommendations to improve children’s mental health (3/24/21)
Director Hall was invited to testify before the Assembly Mental Health Committee. Hall presented data on the status of children’s mental health and well-being in Wisconsin. Also, at the Committee’s request, she made recommendations on how to improve children’s well-being and the children’s mental health system.
Read her testimony, data presentation, and 10 recommendations.
Wisconsin Strives to End Childhood Poverty in Quest to Boost Kids’ Well-being (3/9/21)
“Growing up in poverty is detrimental to a child’s overall well-being, affecting virtually every area of their life,” Office of Children’s Mental Health Director Linda Hall told News 8000.com – La Crosse in an interview following the release of the office’s March 2021 Fact Sheet – Supporting Child Well-being through Eliminating Childhood Poverty.
Read the full article: https://www.news8000.com/wisconsin-strives-to-end-childhood-poverty-to-boost-kids-well-being/
Demand for Mental Health Care Rising as Provider Shortage Persists (2/10/21)
WBAY First Alert News quoted the Office of Children’s Mental Health (OCMH) in a report they did on February 10, 2021 on the shortage of licensed professionals available to address the increased need for mental health services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. OCMH states mental health shortages can lead to negative impacts like increases in suicide, substance abuse, and child abuse.
Read the full article: https://www.wbay.com/2021/02/11/demand-for-mental-health-care-rising-as-provider-shortage-persists/
Interview Examines Youth Mental Health (1/21/21)
Linda Hall, Director of the Office of Children’s Mental Health, spoke with Kate Archer Kent of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Morning Show on the importance of social connections and how the state hopes to encourage building them. They also discuss updates on other ways the state is pushing to improve youth mental health amid the pandemic.
Listen to the full interview: https://www.wpr.org/listen/1750436
OCMH 2020 Annual Report Launch in the News (1/7/21)
Office of Children’s Mental Health Director Linda Hall spoke to WQOW News 18 in Eau Claire about its 2020 Annual Report. The interview highlights that 26% of Wisconsin’s students experienced difficulty with social skills and 15% of adolescents experienced a major depressive episode last year. Other report findings are also discussed.
Watch the video: https://wqow.com/2021/01/07/many-children-struggling-socially-emotionally-report-says/#.X_gCUi6XEu8.mailto
First Lady Kathy Evers Introduces Feelings Thermometer (8/5/20)
A mental wellness tool aimed to help families regain calmness when their feelings may be escalating towards anger was introduced by Wisconsin's First Lady Kathy Evers. The thermometer was produced by the Wisconsin Office of Children's Mental Health (OCMH) as a mental wellness tool amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Feelings Thermometer visually shows the range of feelings starting at the blue zone where people are calm and moving up to the red zone where people are angry. It shows what people can do in each zone to regulate their emotions and move towards the calm zone.
The Feelings Thermometer is available on the OCMH website. Also on the website are suggested ways the Thermometer can be used by families, caregivers, teachers, school social workers, and children.
Read the full article: https://www.news8000.com/first-lady-kathy-evers-announces-mental-wellness-tool-for-families-amid-covid-19/
Mental Health Awareness Day 2020 Highlights the Importance of Children's Mental Health (5/6/20)
National Children's Mental Health Awareness day was celebrated on May 7, 2020 and reinforced the message that positive mental health is essential to a child's health development. The Office of Children's Mental Health shared facts and information on what parents, educational and mental health professionals, and policymakers can do to help.
Read the full article: https://www.norcen.org/about-us/news/2020/may/national-childrens-mental-health-awareness-day/
Children's Mental Health Topic of WPR Interview (3/11/20)
Linda Hall, Director of the Office of Children’s Mental Health, discussed the importance of resiliency and life skills in Wisconsin’s children during a March interview on Wisconsin Public Radio. The discussion also touched on efforts to address provider shortages, school-based care, and hospitalizations. The interview aired on March 11, 2020.
2019 Annual Report (2/4/20)
OCMH presented its 2019 annual report on the status of children’s mental health on February 4th to a packed room at the State Capitol. Guests included First Lady Mrs. Evers, Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm, and OCMH Lived Experience Leader Andrea Humphrey. Linda Hall, OCHM Director, presented OCMH 2020 priorities, and Melissa Murphy, OCHM Research Analyst, presented highlights from the 2019 report. OCMH also released its first 2020 fact sheet – Healthy Use of Screen Time. View the full 2019 annual report, Child Well-Being Indicators Dashboard, Snapshot report, and fact sheet at children.wi.gov.
Children's Mental Health Topic of WPR Interview (8/26/19)
Wisconsin Public Radio’s (WPR) “The Morning Show” invited Linda Hall to discuss her new role as Director of the Office of Children’s Mental Health (OCMH). She described how Wisconsin’s children are struggling with mental health challenges and OCMH’s vision that all children grow up feeling healthy, happy, and hopeful for the future. The interview aired on August 26, 2019.
As an introduction to the segment WPR host, John Munson, noted that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recently awarded more than $6 M in grants to support mental health in schools. During the interview he asked listeners what gaps in children’s mental health they see in their community. Three callers (a parent, teacher, and grandmother) described their connection to children needing mental health treatment and the need for more resources to be allocated to children’s mental health. They also urged WPR to continue coverage of this issue.
Lived Experience Voice Highlighted at 2019 Children's Mental Health Day (5/6/19)
Governor Tony Evers declared May 6, 2019 as Children's Mental Health Awareness Day in Wisconsin and called on Abbi Hicks, OCMH Young Adult Lived Experience Partner, to share her story of mental health challenges including anxiety, self-harm, and borderline personality disorder.
Read the full article: https://www.channel3000.com/gov-evers-declares-childrens-mental-health-awareness-day/