Healthy Teen Minds

Healthy Teen Minds is an eight-year initiative to improve the mental health of teens in our tri-county region – Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago counties. The work is funded by a $1.2 million grant from the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The funding is part of AHW’s initiative focused on improving community behavioral health.

The goal of the project is to reduce the rate of depression among teens by implementing population-level strategies that focus on prevention, promoting resiliency and coping skills among youth, and interventions for struggling teens.

Healthy Teen Minds, in partnership with The Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Valley and the UW-Extension – Winnebago County, is working with area high schools to implement Sources of Strength, a mental health wellness program that utilizes the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture to ultimately prevent suicide, bullying, violence, and substance abuse. It’s one of the nation’s most rigorously researched peer leader programs and is presently on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

So far, 19 area middle and  high schools have joined this initiative and have adopted Sources of Strength. Using our grant funds, The Connection is making Sources of Strength more affordable and accessible for high schools in the region to adopt. Having developed a regional “trained trainer” model, the Healthy Teen Minds project now has its own nationally certified regional trainers, reducing the cost of implementation by 75 percent, to roughly $4,000 per school for a three-year implementation.

For more information, contact Wendy Magas, Project Coordinator, at

Training Opportunity: Sources “Train the Trainer” Advanced Skills Session planned for summer 2021

When:  Monday – Thursday, Aug. 2 – 5, 2021
Location: Via Zoom

The Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection is pleased to host a Sources of Strength “Train the Trainer” Advanced Skills Session for school and district staff. The four-day training will is planned for Aug. 2 – 5, 2021. 

Currently, we are planning to hold the training virtually, via Zoom. If health officials declare it is safe to gather by August, the training will be held  in person in the Fox Cities, location to be determined.   

Priority will be given to individuals connected to schools and districts in Northeast Wisconsin that are implementing Sources of Strength through The Connection’s Healthy Teen Minds Initiative,  ThedaCare’s Sources of Strength Initiative, and The Cesa 6/7 Alllies in Mental Health Education Initiative. 

Click her for a description of the skills required to become a trainer.


This intensive training opportunity led by National Sources of Strength trainers will prepare participants to become provisional Sources of Strength trainers within their own schools or school districts and will be subject to the Sources of Strength Trainer certification requirements. 

The certification process will be supported by regional and/or national Sources of Strength trainers. Trainees will be able to meet certification requirements by co-training with the certified trainers at their own school/district over a two-year period.

The cost to attend has been reduced to $1,000 per registrant and will cover training and supplies (and snacks each day if held in person). Schools within the Healthy Teen Minds and ThedaCare project boundaries may quality for additional grant support.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and we will inform you promptly as admission decisions are made.

Tools for Sources Schools:

Healthy Teen Minds Sources of Strength Cohort 1 Outcomes

In their survey responses, Peer Leaders

  • reported an improvement in peer-to-peer relationships in their schools
  • demonstrated more positive attitudes
    toward the need to intervene when
    a friend was suicidal and to do so by
    seeking help from an adult
  • are also feeling stronger connections    to  trusted adults at school

In their survey responses, Peer Leaders reported an improvement in peer-to-peer relationships at their school

Based on an index of the following
“At my school…” questions:

…I have many friends
…I often hang out with other students …I can help make my school a better place
 …I get along with students who are different from me
 …students just talk mostly to their friends

    In their survey responses, Peer Leaders are also feeling stronger connections to trusted adults at school

    Based on an index of the following
    “In my opinion…” questions: 

    “At my school…” questions:
     …adults care about people my age
    …adults push me to do my best
    …adults respect what people my
    age think
    …there is an adult who listens to what I have to say
    …there is an adult who I trust 
    …there is an adult who cares about me
    …there is an adult who I can talk to about a problem

      In their survey responses, Peer Leaders demonstrated shifts toward being more likely to intervene when a friend was suicidal and to do so by seeking help from an adult

      Based on an index of the following
      “In my opinion…” questions:

      …I would tell an adult I trusted if I knew a friend was suicidal
      …I would tell an adult about a suicidal friend, even if that friend asked me to keep it a secret
      …my friends would try to get help for someone who was suicidal
      …I know adults who could help a friend thinking
      …my school has people who can help students going through hard times
      …I can think of an adult who I trust enough to help a suicidal friend
      …students with problems can get help from adults at my school

        Cohort 1: (2017-18 school year – now in year 4 of implementation)
        Appleton East, North, and West High Schools; Neenah High School; Oshkosh North & West High Schools
        Cohort 2: (2018-19 school year – now in year 3 of implementation)
        Little Chute Middle & High Schools; New London High School; Wrightstown High School; Kimberly JRG Middle School: Kaukauna River View Middle School
        Cohort 3: (2019-2020 school year – now in year 3 of implementation)
        Chilton High School; Freedom High School; Hilbert High School; New Holstein High School; Winneconne High School
        Cohort 4: (2020-21 school year – first year of implementation)
        Omro High School
        Cohort 5: (2021-22 school year)
        Now recruiting high schools in Calumet, Outagamie & Winnebago Counties for our fifth and final cohort!