Northern Mental Health Collaborative receives state mental health grant

NORTHERN MENTAL HEALTH Collaborative administration and pupil services team of the Goodman-Armstrong Creek, Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine, Florence County and Niagara School Districts gather with Cheryl Welch outside the Pathways to Healing Counseling Center in Florence, Wis. From left, in front are Sara Foster, Florence School psychologist; Chris Veirauch, Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine counselor and Terry Hanson, Niagara pupil services. In back are Andy Space, Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine administrator; Allison Space, Goodman-Armstrong Creek administrator; Nate Burklund, Niagara administrator; Colleen Finn, Goodman-Armstrong Creek counselor; Cheryl Welch, Pathways Counseling Center; Sherri Petschar, Niagara counselor; Ben Niehaus, Florence County administrator; Scott Trevillian, Niagara principal; and Zach Wedge, Florence counselor.

MADISON, Wis. — The Northern Mental Health Collaborative — comprised of the school districts of Goodman-Armstrong Creek, Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine, Florence County and Niagara — recently was awarded $149,992 via a two-year grant from the Department of Public Instruction.

The grant will support enhancing schoolwide and tiered systems of practice to promote a collaborative, school-community climate, effective two-way communication, positive parenting strategies and meaningful parent-educator decision making for mental health supports for the youth of the four district collaborative.

The Department of Public Instruction distributed $6.5 million for services to support students’ mental health in 120 public school districts. The funding comes from the School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program.

“According to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey results, more than four in ten students had a mental health need over the previous year,” state Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. “These grants will help those children. Students in every region of our state, in small and large districts, rural and urban communities, and everywhere in between, will benefit from the mental health services they wouldn’t otherwise receive.”

The collaborative partnered with Pathways to Healing Counseling Center, and clinical therapist Cheryl Welch, in addition to receiving support from the Rural Education Research and Implementation Center, or RERIC, at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research of the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pathways to Counseling will provide for staff training, guidance in promoting school-community and parental outreach in addition to providing both face-to-face and telemedicine counseling services for students and families.

The RERIC is engaged in formative studies to understand facilitators and barriers to adopting, implementing and sustaining evidence-based school mental health practices in rural schools.

Findings from focus groups, conducted by RERIC staff Dr. Craig Albers and Dr. Andy Garbacz, suggest family-school collaboration is a key leverage point to promote school mental health and accelerate outcomes for children and youth.

The Northern Mental Health Collaborative thanks the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, Cheryl Welch and Pathways to Healing Counseling Center, RERIC and the legislature in providing these resources.


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