3 Dane County school districts to add mental health teams

3 Dane County school districts to add mental health teams

Three Dane County school districts will receive funding to add school-based mental health teams to their schools, according to a release.

The DeForest, Wisconsin Heights and Middleton-Cross Plains school districts will be able to expand the program that was started by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi in 2014, officials said.

The program addresses mental health for youths, and has been successful in Madison, Sun Prairie and Verona, according to the release. Those programs are expanding to elementary and middle schools through a grant program.

The program connects youths with mental health services before a crisis occurs, officials said.

“The effects of mental illness are far reaching, affecting classrooms, families and workplaces,” Parisi said in the release. “Deforest, Wisconsin Heights and Middleton-Cross Plains applications demonstrate their commitment to partnering to address critical mental health issues early. I am thrilled this program has resulted in such success for our youth struggling with mental health issues.”

The program brings trained professionals into classrooms to partner with teachers, parents and law enforcement officers in addressing the root cause of genuine feelings and behaviors that sometimes manifest themselves as barriers to learning, officials said.

The Dane County Department of Human Services will invest $352,575 in the program, according to the release. The three districts will make the program available to kids in kindergarten through eighth grade.