Mental Health

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For decades, Milwaukee County’s mental health services were based on an institutional model. Today, more and more patients are receiving their care through what’s known as a community-based system.

Through the community-based method, patients are treated as individuals in settings such as their own apartments and group homes. Research shows that patients do best under the least restrictive circumstances.

Since 2010, the County has made strides in offering this kind of care. However, many people in the Milwaukee area not seeking or receiving treatment.

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"The blacksmith in times of antiquity was the person who could fix anything, or make anything for the community," says Dr. Ramel Smith, a Milwaukee psychologist whose private practice is called BLAQUESMITH Psychological Consultative Services. "The blacksmith could fix anything, and so I tried to look at myself as an emotional blacksmith for the community." 

Jib photo, via Flickr

You couldn't blame sports anchor and Milwaukee area native Trenni Kusnierek for being a bit apprehensive about speaking publicly on her struggles with depression and anxiety. After all, the sports world in which she plies her trade thrives on an image of strength. Kusnierek worried about what she might hear from her new bosses at Comcast SportsNet New England. Or her viewers. Or the athletes she covered.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris / Milwaukee Magazine

This month's Milwaukee Magazine examines mental health issues in Wisconsin. Personal essays, one by sports journalist Trenni Kusnierek and the other by college student Molly McKenzie, are only two facets of the wide-ranging series.

One World Publications

It used to be that medicine was carried out with a certain degree of secrecy. We turned our health over to the experts and they prescribed what was right for us.

However, more recently patients are demanding doctors who are better communicators. And the Internet age has accelerated that trend - we have more insight into medicine than ever. 

Ann-Elise Henzl

A new study has turned up challenges for Milwaukee County as it tries to better serve residents with mental health needs.

A report from the Public Policy Forum shows low income residents, in particular, face several barriers to accessing care. The county has spent the past few years redesigning its behavioral health care system after a study exposed large scale problems providing for the neediest residents at the Mental Health Complex.

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There are significant changes planned for the delivery of mental health services in Milwaukee County. The massive reorganization comes in response to well-publicized struggles by the County’s Behavioral Health Division.

One non-profit group that has been advocating for patients and their families for some time is the Milwaukee-based Vital Voices for Mental Health.

Michelle Maternowski

Lawmakers in Madison continue to push for passage of two bills that would make reforms to Milwaukee County’s embattled Mental Health Complex, even while some in the mental health community question the plans.

Some state lawmakers are pledging that action will still be taken this session to reform Milwaukee County's embattled mental health system.  

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Depression affects nearly one in ten Americans at some point in their lifetimes.

Erin Toner

Gov. Walker says if the U.S. hopes to prevent mass tragedies, it must treat mental health issues.

While it’s often an invisible population, homeless advocates believe that on any given day, there are as many as 1,500 men, women and children looking for a place to sleep in Milwaukee.

Wisconsin soon could see a big increase in funding for mental health services.

Rosalie Winard

Temple Grandin's new book examines the progress made over decades to address the needs of autistic individuals.

Erin Toner

Monday, we reported on a one-year-old clinic in West Allis treating a growing number of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some say they’re seeking outside therapy because they’re dissatisfied with their VA health care. This morning, WUWM’s Erin Toner revisits the clinic to report on another free service it provides – mental health services for the families of veterans. Family members don’t qualify for care at VA hospitals.

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