Rep. Steineke proposes school-based mental health program

Published: Nov. 14, 2019 at 3:03 PM CST
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Rep. Jim Steineke (R) Kaukauna, introduced a new proposal that would green light a mental health pilot program in Outagamie County.

According to a 2017 report by the Office of Children's Mental Health, an estimated 21% of Wisconsin's children have a mental illness.

"It affects their concentration, their memory, their sleep, their appetite," Dr. Jon Lehrmann with the Medical College of Wisconsin said. "It can make them suicidal."

Lehrmann and Rep. Steineke are partnering together to start a mental health pilot program.

"Basically schools will have immediate access to a psychiatrist, professional to help them deal with their students that are having emerging issues with mental illness," said Steineke.

Officials are still researching if one psychiatrist would be enough to cover the entire county, but they do know the psychiatrist would also give teachers and staff tips on handling mental health.

"It's mostly an on-call thing where they can access this person either through phone or by email," said Steineke.

The program would be operated by the Medical College of Wisconsin and funded by $175,000 through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

"For us to be able to have this real time support and consultation from a child psychiatrist or psychologist, it is just invaluable," Kaukauna School District Superintendent

Mext month the bill is being introduced for co-sponsorship and then hearings will be held in both the assembly and the senate.