According to a national study by Mental Health America, over 18 percent of individuals in Wisconsin were experiencing a mental health illness in 2019. Navigating the process to find and receive mental health care can be cumbersome.
Launched in Brown County, Connections for Wellness is a community-wide initiative to address issues related to mental wellness. The coalition is comprised of 16 local organizations ranging from health care to public schools and law enforcement. A coalition priority was to create a “one-stop” mental health resource for individuals in Brown, Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago counties. Thus, www.myconnectionnew.org was created.
The website allows users to take an anonymous mental health screening to assess their risk for mental health challenges and find local organizations. It features a directory of crisis services, behavioral health and substance abuse resources, all searchable by zip code. The directory includes contact information, location, fees, application process, eligibility requirements and payment/insurance accepted for organizations. Users have access to over 30,000 health-related articles and fact sheets, produced by experts and leading organizations. Additionally, users can learn about current legislation impacting mental health and/or substance abuse and the organizations that provide advocacy.
In an effort to continue improving community access to mental health resources, HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s Hospitals in Green Bay provided support to Connections for Wellness.
In the first year of the website being available, it received, on average, 202 visits per day; most visits occurred between 12 and 3 a.m.; engagement time averaged seven minutes.