The Children's Wisconsin Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic is the only one in the state. The funding announced Wednesday will allow it to provide more services – and jobs.
"We know our kids are struggling more than ever before," said Gov. Tony Evers.
Tammy Makhlouf, manager of the clinic, knows that firsthand.
"Since our walk-in clinic has opened, we have been busy. We have had children as young as age 3 up to 19," Makhlouf said. "I feel like there’s been an increase in mental health needs for kids, and lack of resources."
Evers said he wants to change that reality, directing $14 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds toward youth mental health services – $5 million of which is going to Children's Wisconsin.
"They are already finding they need to expand to meet the need they have coming through the door," the governor said.
The funding will help expand the walk-in clinic's hours and allow it to provide more services. It will also support a new pediatric psychology residence program.
"We are in short supply of clinicians," said Makhlouf.
The remaining $9 million in ARPA funds will go to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. It will be put toward educating students for jobs in mental health.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UW-Whitewater)
"Hundreds will have the opportunity to pursue clinical training and a degree to meet the workforce shortage in the state," said Jessica Smith, UW-Whitewater project director for inclusive transition education and employment.
"Together we are building a behavioral health system," Evers said.
The Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic in Wauwatosa is open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Patients ages 5-18 are welcome to walk in with a parent at any time, no appointments are required.