Children’s Wisconsin receives $15M donation to address mental, behavioral health

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Children's Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley: Help Kids!

(WFRV) – Children’s Wisconsin has received a $15 million donation from an anonymous donor to support mental and behavioral health services.

“The community recognizes that mental and behavioral health services must be improved, particularly for kids. We are incredibly thankful to all the donors who have stepped forward for this critical initiative,” said Peggy Troy, president and CEO of Children’s Wisconsin.

Children’s Wisconsin says they launched a $15 million challenge to support the health system’s $150 million commitment to address the mental and behavioral health needs of kids.

The donor has pledged $15 million to match dollar-for-dollar donations to Children’s Wisconsin, according to a press release.

This pledge is the largest single donation in Children’s Wisconsin history.

Meg Brzyski Nelson, chief development officer of Children’s Wisconsin, said it was truly remarkable to receive the largest-ever donation to the organization. “I hope it inspires others to keep stepping forward so we can continue to address this issue with impactful programs.”

Last year, Children’s Wisconsin announced seven initiatives “to help address the growing mental and behavioral health crisis facing Wisconsin kids,” according to the health system.

“The five-year plan was developed to detect mental and behavioral health needs sooner, improve access to services, and reduce the stigma around the illness.”

The initiatives outlined in a release from Children’s Wisconsin are:

  • Universal screening for mental health: Expanding screening for depression and anxiety throughout the health system, regardless of the reason for the visit.
  • Early childhood mental health: Creating a hub to anchor and coordinate the work of multiple specialists and programs providing early childhood mental health.
  • School-based mental and behavioral health: Expanding school-based programs throughout Wisconsin.
  • Integrated mental and behavioral health: Offering integrated mental and behavioral health services in the primary care offices and specialty clinics.
  • Therapist fellowship program: Providing training and stipends to master’s-level therapists to help them earn their licenses and join the workforce sooner.
  • Urgent and emergent mental health: Offering a dedicated, fully-staffed pediatric psychiatric assessment team and space in the Children’s Wisconsin Emergency Department.
  • Partnerships with inpatient and residential care providers: Improving inpatient and residential access and care through Children’s Wisconsin partnership with other health systems.

Children’s Wisconsin has estimated that $150 million would need to be invested to implement these plans, with a significant part of the funding supported through donations. Other funding would come through revenue from expanded programs, state and federal resources, contracts and partnerships, and direct investments by Children’s Wisconsin.

Previous donations to support this work include $5 million from Kohl’s to support system-wide screening, school-based programming and mental health awareness efforts; $1 million from the Boldt Company to partially fund the Therapist Fellowship Program; and $1 million from Rexnord Foundation to support any of the seven initiatives.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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