MENASHA, Wisc., (WFRV) – For years now, the Fox Valley has been in the throes of a mental health crisis and Covid-19 only made it worse.
“During 2010 to 2019 there was a 66% increase in suicides and nationally there was only a 30% increase in suicides for the same time period,” explains local suicide prevention coordinator Sarah Bassing-Sutton. “This is like what the heck. This mental health wave is coming behind the pandemic physical health wave and that’s going to last longer and be bigger.”
A Local 5 News investigation shows police are bearing the brunt. In the tri-county region of Winnebago, Calumet and Outagamie Counties, mental health calls for law enforcement have gone up by 17% since March, according to Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection.
A NEW Mental Health Connection representative is now meeting regularly with law enforcement and concerned community leaders to come up with a position that will help streamline services for individuals dealing with mental health issues and avoid making these kinds of calls a criminal matter.
Thursday on Local 5 News at 10 p.m., Local 5 goes on the frontlines with the Menasha Police Department and talks about solutions.