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, 22 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 wendy@newmentalhealthconnection.org

 

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!