Youth mental health: Children's Wisconsin, UW-Whitewater get funding

Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday, Aug. 3 announced millions of dollars in funding for youth mental health services.

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.

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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."

Children's Wisconsin

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.

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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)

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.