The kids are not alright, Part II
Calls for more crisis workers and concerns about vaping, LGBTQ+ kids
A story that almost went under the radar — including my own — came from a recent meeting of the Health and Human Services Committee.
But when I saw the agenda I knew it would be a big deal.
Deputy Chief Matt Barnes, Chief Deputy Chad Billeb, Mayor Katie Rosenberg and Wausau Policing Task Force Chair John Robinson came before the commitee to ask for two things: One, an expansion of the Crisis Assessment Response Team, otherwise known as the CART team; and the addition of focused case management.
For those who don’t know, the CART team 1 is comprised of two officers (one from Wausau, the other a sheriff’s deputy) and two crisis professionals from North Central Health Care. They respond to situations where someone with a mental health issue is having a problem. The idea is that the CART team can calm the person down and get them help, versus just bringing them to jail (a better outcome for them while also saving money on county resources). That’s what was happening before the team was formed.
All of THAT came about as the county made a huge push, led by Billeb (who will become sheriff in less than a month), to improve the way mental health was dealt with in Marathon County. There was a bit of a crisis as Marathon County nearly pulled its participation in the tri-county medical organization, instead forming its own human services department. Things were tense but ultimately the county and NCHC came to an understanding.
And one more ALL of THAT: This comes on the heels of Marathon County releasing the results of the 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which we wrote about in Part I. As expected, the most alarming trends are around teen depression and suicide.
It seems like mental health is taking center stage as a focus for health and municipal leaders, both at the city level and the county. This might be the defining issue of our current generation.
Let’s dive into the discussion and the data.