Project YES! Wisconsin wins $1 million grant to fund mental health services for young people in need

MADISON (WITI) — The Department of Health Services has announced that Wisconsin has received a $5 million “Now is the Time - Healthy Transitions” grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide services and supports to young adults with, or who are at risk for, serious mental health conditions. The grant provides $1 million dollars in funding annually for the next five years.

“The purpose of this program is to improve access to treatment and supports for young adults,” said Secretary Kitty Rhoades.  “A large number of individuals in this age group need these services, but often fail to seek help. They may fall through the cracks and not receive the assistance they need to assume safe and productive adult roles and responsibilities.”

The Department will use the grant funds to develop and launch Project YES! (Youth Empowered Solutions) in Jefferson and Outagamie counties.  County staff as well as service providers and community groups in these counties will work together to better serve the young adult age group.  Through Project YES! young adults and their family members will have active roles in identifying how to achieve the goals of the program.

Project YES! has the following three goals:

    Project YES! is based on Project O-YEAH, a successful young adult transition program developed in 2009 by Wraparound Milwaukee, a system of care created by Milwaukee County for children with serious emotional, behavioral and mental health needs and their families.

    Within three years, Jefferson County plans to add Rock and Walworth counties to their project and Outagamie County plans to add Brown, Manitowoc, Winnebago, and Calumet counties. Using estimates in the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11,000 young adults in these eight counties have a serious mental health need.   This grant will help these counties meet the demand for services. In addition to the pilot counties, Community Partnerships, an organization in Madison that helps children and families living with mental illness to be more successful in their homes, schools and communities, will be invited to participate in grant activities to benefit from the training on how to develop peer support and young adult advocacy programs. Other counties are expected to adopt the program model developed and refined in the pilot counties.

    Project YES! complements Governor Walker’s $30 million investment in Wisconsin’s mental health reforms in the current biennial budget, including the expansion of Comprehensive Community Services and Coordinated Service Teams.