New initiative to help students with mental health problems - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New Dane County initiative to help students with mental health problems


MADISON (WKOW) -- A new Dane County initiative is designed to help students with mental health problems.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the plan Monday, as part of his 2014 County Budget.

It calls for putting professional "Mental Health Rapid Response Teams" in the Sun Prairie and Verona school districts. They would be there to help de-escalate situations involving students who suffer from mental illness.

"There might be a situation where a young person might be having a mental health crisis, law enforcement is called, and law enforcement right now doesn't always have someone to refer those folks to immediately who could help them the most, a mental health professional," Parisi said.

The Dane County Education Task Force says a recent survey of school superintendents in the county shows a majority listed mental health services as their most significant unmet need. 

"We wanna make sure that the right care, for the right situation, is available for the first responders and for the teachers," Parisi said.

The response teams will develop mental health crisis plans. They'll also provide mental health support for students, both in the classroom and at home.  

Parisi will introduce his budget to the Dane County Board on Tuesday.

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