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.

SOURCES OF STRENGTH

The Healthy Teen Minds initiative is proud to be supporting the adoption of Sources of Strength at high schools throughout the region.

In partnership with The Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Valley and the UW-Extension – Winnebago County, we have implemented Sources of Strength at 12 local schools so far, with seven more ready to train in fall of 2019.

Sources of Strength is an evidence-based suicide prevention and mental 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. 

Sources of Strength focuses on developing protective factors, depicted in a wheel of strength, to build resilience in students and their schools communities. The program is based on a relational connections model that uses teams of peer leaders mentored by adult advisors to change peer social norms and encourage students to individually assess and develop strengths in their life.

Radically positive, Sources uses peer leaders to spread messages of “Hope, Help, and Strength” to change school culture by improving help-seeking behavior, breaking down codes of silence, and improving perceptions of adult support. These strength-based messages are strategically designed by Sources of Strength and the local peer teams to engage school culture and impact their peers throughout their school and community.

The model promotes and focuses on connectivity, school bonding, peer-adult partnerships, protective factors and the promotion of help seeking behaviors.

Other strategies of the Healthy Teen Minds Initiative include adopting social-emotional learning in elementary and middle schools, supporting and expanding school-based mental health initiatives, and a teen sleep campaign to raise awareness about the importance of adolescent sleep. An early success of the project is the launch of MyConnectionNEW.org, a new mental health service navigation website that includes a complete listing of all mental health and substance use services and supports in the region, making it easier for tri-county residents to connect to services.

 

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