School mental health services in Wisconsin have received a financial boost. Governor Tony Evers announced at locations around the state this week that nearly every K-12 district in Wisconsin will be awarded funding through the 15 million dollar “Get Kids Ahead Initiative.”
The funds are from Wisconsin’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Schools will be able to use the funds for a variety of mental health support services for students and families. Every public school district in the state was eligible to opt in and was guaranteed a minimum of $10,000 dollars, with the remainder of the money allocated on a per-pupil basis.
Aimee Burazin, staff psychologist at Stevens Point Area High School, said they’ll use some of that to expand mental health navigator services. “To help eliminate some of the barriers that our students have in getting connected with outpatient counseling, whether it’s the difficulties with outpatient counseling, whether it’s the difficulty navigating the insurance part or scheduling and who’s even available, since it’s been really difficult even with waiting lists.”
Burazin said some of the funding will also go towards expand professional development to teachers, “who are really our frontline people who are working with our students, and are the first to probably notice that something is maybe amiss with the student and the student is maybe struggling.”
Brownfield’s Larry Lee contributed to this report