Mental health resources expanding in Brown County

Published: May. 10, 2019 at 4:10 PM CDT
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A grassroots effort is on a mission to get more adults and teens to understand mental illness and talk about it.

Statistics show more than 817,000 adults in Wisconsin have mental health conditions. That's more than three times the population of Madison.

"And here we are. We are the largest grassroots organization in the country when it comes to mental illness," says Monica Davis, Executive Director, NAMI Brown County.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) started in Madison in 1979. It's the vision of two mothers of sons with schizophrenia. The women wanted more support and resources.

Forty years later, their mission continues across the country.

It's expanding in Brown County.

"We provide peer-to-peer support, family-to-family. Also teen support, and hopefully we'll be starting a homefront support with our veterans, too," Davis says."They're coming back, after having PTSD, they've already seen their doctor, they've already been hospitals, medications, taken care of, but they just need somebody to talk to."

Davis is passionate about helping people struggling with mental health issues. She's also passionate about bridging the gaps in families.

"Access. It's been a challenge to find a psychiatrist. It's been a challenge to have access into the various hospitals," Davis says.

NAMI is also focused on breaking language and cultural barriers.

"We do have some information in Spanish at this time. Our hope is to continue to expand. I know that we have a strong Hmong community as well. A lot of under-served populations and nobody should be left without a resource."

On May 23, NAMI is holding its ninth annual gala at Lambeau Field. The money raised will help fund more education and more programs.

to sign up for the gala.

"We're really trying to take our organization to the next level," Davis says.

That involves growing a critical partnership with police and the courts. Many crimes are rooted in mental illness.

Officers and Judge Donald Zuidmulder will be recognized for their initiatives.

"Basically decriminalizing mental illness, which is a beautiful service to our community," Davis says.