May 22, 2017
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

Wisconsin Increases Efforts to Help Young People Battling Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

DHS awarded federal grant of $3 million over four years

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced a new investment to support young people battling addiction and mental health disorders. The Division of Care and Treatment Services (DCTS) applied for, and received, the federal grant to improve treatment for adolescents and youth with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorders. The grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides $760,000 in annual funding for four years starting September 30, 2017.

“This grant supports our efforts in the fight against heroin and prescription drug abuse, as well as the persistent meth problem, and other substance use disorders that we know are affecting young people in many of our communities,” said DHS Secretary Linda Seemeyer. “We know substance use disorders and mental health challenges often go hand-in-hand, so this grant will help us advance our work to best treat people with co-occurring disorders, building on the state’s historic investment in mental health.”

With this grant, Wisconsin will bring together stakeholders serving young people living with mental health and substance use concerns to implement proven strategies to enhance and expand treatment services, develop policies, expand workforce capacity, disseminate evidence-based practices, and implement financial mechanisms and other reforms to improve the integration and efficiency of treatment and recovery support systems.

The DCTS Bureau of Prevention Treatment and Recovery will use the funds to create the Wisconsin Youth Treatment Initiative, focusing on people ages 16 to 25. Four provider organizations will be selected as Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) providers, which focus on the key areas of the young person's life to decrease substance use and increase positive social functioning. Research shows MDFT prevents out-of-home placements, which reduces both trauma and cost. System improvements from this initiative will be sustained through the Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) Program.

This grant also includes support for workforce development initiatives. This effort will focus on preparing college faculty to provide classroom instruction on evidence-based practices for substance use disorders in young people, and also uses technology to increase training opportunities for all professionals in the state.

This initiative supports state efforts to fight the opioid epidemic as directed by Governor Scott Walker and the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse, as well as further invests in efforts to address mental health disorders among kids in crisis. #HopeActLive