Western Wisconsin Health (WWHealth) Foundation is proud to share its one-year anniversary of the new teen resiliency program for students at the Baldwin-Woodville High School (BWHS). These classes contribute to building skill sets for resiliency and healthy coping mechanisms and provide education to reduce stigma around mental health concerns for our youth.
The Cheese Grater-Danbana Dash fundraiser provided the initial funds for the pilot version of this program. WW Health held the first session in January-March 2018, in partnership with the BWHS counseling staff. The pilot was a success, and the high school counselors and WW Health staff involved knew this was a program that needed to continue to be offered to support students. This was made possible through grant funds from the Wisconsin Medical Society to support a second session in fall of 2018. There were 10 students that participated, and the survey once again showed improvement in their coping skills, resilience tools, and emotional awareness.
The goal of the second session was to make the program sustainable. The BWHS counseling staff have taken ownership of this class and are now able to offer the program as an annual elective class. WW Health will be available to help with additional staff training and as needed for class facilitation as subject matter experts. “The Resilience Skills class in an awesome addition to our course offerings,” said Kit Smestad, BWHS School Counselor. “Students learn skills to have ‘armor’ to deal with life’s ups and downs. In today’s world, these skills are essential building blocks to a happy, healthy life.”
The Wisconsin Medical Society funds have also allowed WW Health to purchase new teen specific resilience building materials for future classes. Additionally, with funding received from the Westfields Legacy of Caring Grant in July 2018, WW Health is excited to announce that it has partnered with several local organizations and individuals to make similar resilience programming available to Spring Valley High School this February.
Other school districts within Pierce and St. Croix Counties are also exploring opportunities to improve mental health and increase emotional resilience of local youth. “The goal of the partnership between BWHS and WW Health was to serve as a model for supporting youth in developing better emotional coping and lifestyle skills,” said Natasha Ward, Director of Community Health at WW Health. “WW Health is proud and honored to have such support from the grantees, as well as the community and staff within the schools. Our youth are the future, and we hope this class will give them some of the tools to be successful!”
To learn more about Western Wisconsin Health and its offerings around Behavioral Health or the adult Intro to Resilience Training program, please visit: wwhealth.org.