Better Together in La Crosse County
Hundreds of La Crosse County youth struggle with mental health challenges that can lead to depression and dangerous consequences.
Together, we can help our youth live happier, healthier lives. Together, we can find solutions that help entire communities thrive. Because we’re Better Together.
An extraordinary opportunity to improve mental health in La Crosse County
Better Together is funded through 2024 by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin. La Crosse County—one of 10 communities statewide selected to receive this grant—was chosen due to its proven history of creating positive change through innovation and collaboration.
Better Together will enable strategic community collaboration to help:
- Improve mental health
- Reduce depression risk among area youth in ages 12–18
- Promote an overall culture of mental wellness
- Normalize mental health conversations
Better mental health is critical for youth
Hundreds of La Crosse County youth suffer with mental health challenges that can lead to depression and dangerous consequences.
It’s OK to talk about mental health. There is hope.
1 in 5 youth
1 in 5 youth in our community will face a mental health challenge+
50% begin by age 14
50% of mental health challenges begin by age 14 and impact learning, relationships and lifestyle choices*
28% at risk for depression
28% of La Crosse County youth reported being at risk for depression in 2017^
15% considered suicide
15% of La Crosse County youth reported they seriously considered suicide in 2017^
- +National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov).
- *Kessler, R.C, et al. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age of onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593-602.
- ^2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, as administered in several La Crosse County (Wisconsin) schools.
Better Together supports better health
Better Together envisions a future in which mental wellness continually improves throughout La Crosse County and conversations about mental health are increasingly common and regarded as normal.
In partnership with key community organizations, Better Together seeks to help youth better understand mental wellness, feel a stronger sense of belonging and a greater sense of purpose, develop positive relationships with trusted adults and learn skills to enhance coping and resiliency.
This unique grant will also enable Better Together and its partners to help adults in La Crosse County best support youth in mental wellness and to create stronger communication pathways that encourage mental wellness throughout entire communities.
This project is funded by the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
The Strategies for Change
A comprehensive, collaborative effort to support mental wellness
Better Together will collaborate with La Crosse County students, school faculty and staff, parents/guardians, mental health professionals, employers, government agencies, faith organizations and media to:
Increase resilience, coping skills and social connectedness among youth
Increase awareness of and improve attitudes about mental health throughout communities
Parents & Educators
Give parents, educators and others additional ways to support youth
Encourage and support cooperation and communication across mental health support systems and networks
Community members dedicated to improving mental health
Organizations and individuals from important facets of our community are working with Better Together to help promote mental wellness.
- Health and human services
- Law enforcement
- Youth-serving organizations
- Community agencies
- Mental health advocates
Caring staff help us all become Better Together
Better Together is staffed by skilled professionals experienced in working with mental health in community settings.
Better Together project coordinator
With more than a decade of experience working as a community development professional in Green Bay, Bethany is a passionate advocate for multicultural diversity and inclusion. She has also led projects addressing food insecurity. Bethany specializes in relationship building and management, organizational design, facilitation and mediation.
As a community organizing consultant, Bethany received national recognition and awards from the Boys and Girls Club of America and the Wisconsin Campus Compact coalition. She was also recognized by the city of Green Bay. As coordinator of the Better Together project, Bethany will work to collaborate with and engage those working to improve mental health in youth. Bethany has a diverse background as an artist, and holds master’s degrees in music from the Chicago College of Performing Arts.
Diana DiazGranados MSW, MPH
Better Together project evaluator and certified Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainer
Diana holds master’s degrees in social work and public health from Columbia University. She started her career as a community health volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps, working first in Lesotho in southern Africa, where she worked to improve the food security and nutritional intake of students in rural elementary schools. Diana has also worked and consulted in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Peru, Kosovo, Guatemala and Bangladesh. In Kosovo, Diana developed and received funding for the country’s first post-war adolescent health project.
Diana has worked on a variety of public health issues including adolescent reproductive health, HIV prevention, human trafficking, disease outbreaks, disaster relief and post-war trauma. A skilled grant writer, program developer and evaluation expert, Diana has a passion for promoting healthy living, and for making implementation research and project evaluation practical and user-friendly. As a certified MHFA trainer for adults and youth, Diana offers MHFA training in the community.
Let’s work together to support better mental health
With your help, Better Together will change the perception of mental health throughout La Crosse County, and help promote better overall health for every resident!
Learn more about this exceptional opportunity. Complete the form below, call 608-371-9789 or send an email to Better Together at email@example.com.
Community events encourage mental wellness
Mark your calendar and join us for exciting events designed to start conversations about mental health and encourage mental wellness throughout area communities. We hope to see you soon!
Foundation 1 of the Resilient and Trauma-Informed Community
Includes a screening of the film Resilience
Foundation 1 sessions are offered every other month at a variety of locations in La Crosse and other regional areas. These sessions are free and open to the public. To find the date and location of an upcoming session please click on the registration link to learn more.
The child may not remember. But the body remembers. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), toxic stress and trauma can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on brains and bodies, putting people at a greater risk for disease, homelessness, prison time, mental health challenges and early death. The documentary “Resilience” chronicles the dawn of a movement that is determined to build a community response to trauma and strengthen resilience.
Foundation 2 of the Resilient and Trauma-Informed Community
Foundation 2 sessions are offered periodically throughout La Crosse County and are free and open to the public. Attendance at Foundation 1 is not required but highly encouraged. To find the date and location of an upcoming session, please click on the registration link.
Becoming a resilient and trauma-informed community is more than just something we do at work or home. It’s an intentional focus on who we are. Foundation 2 personalizes the Resilient and Trauma-Informed Community Framework by reflecting on our assumptions, beliefs, and emotions surrounding the relationships we have with others. Participants will engage in self-reflection and roundtable discussions aimed at building perspective shifts towards empathy and compassion.
Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainings
To provide essential training and awareness to the importance of mental health and wellness, Better Together along with many community partners is offering a day of offers training in Youth Mental Health First Aid. Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour public education program which introduces participants 18 years of age and older to recognize the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. Youth Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social and self-help care.
Adult Mental Health First Aid Trainings
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Adult Mental Health First Aid trainings are offered in the community by our community partners. If you are interested in Adult Mental Health First Aid please contact us and we will connect you to a local trainer.