Panel to discuss mental health needs of youths, public policy

“Mental Health Needs for Young Americans and Challenges for Public Policy” will be a panel discussion held Feb. 20 at Ripon College. The event will run from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. in Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union. A reception will follow at 8 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the College’s Center for Politics and the People, DREAM (Disability, Rights, Education and Activism network) and Psi Chi, the Ripon chapter of the National Honor Society in Psychology. Admission is free and open to the public

There is a growing urgency to deal with the social and emotional needs of youths. A recent survey of members of the National Association of Elementary School Principals indicated that mental health issues, student poverty and management of student behavior were their top three concerns about students.

A study by Best Online Colleges identified five prevalent issues facing college students: depression, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders and addiction. Yet, with tightening budgets at the local, state and national levels, services to address these needs have sometimes been cut back or not expanded sufficiently to meet growing needs.

Panelists will include:

  • Lindsay Hutchison Loewe, Ripon class of 2004, licensed mental health and substance abuse psychotherapist at Collaborative Wellness, professional counseling and consulting services, in Ripon. She has experience in residential treatment, in-patient mental health, county mental health and jail recidivism reduction programming, and works with clients of all ages. She believes that well-being is a collaborative effort between family and community systems. She provides schools with on-site therapy, education and resources for students and staff; and sits on several area committees. She will explain the relationship between environment and mental health needs and acknowledge the core of where mental health concerns begin.
  • Rory Linnane is a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Ideas Lab, which examines best practices for solving the region’s problems. She has reported on youth mental health throughout Wisconsin for several years and is a 2018-19 fellow with the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Program. She will share information about the rising youth suicide rate in Wisconsin, why mental health needs are rising, barriers in access to mental health care, and best approaches for improving youth mental health.
  • Sarah Reed, program lead for Honest, Open, Proud at Rogers Behavioral Health, Brown
    Deer, Wisconsin. She holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in ecological-community psychology. Her research has focused on adolescent well-being and the development and evaluation of community-based programs designed to enhance youth mental, social and emotional health. She will discuss the relationship between stigma and mental health, particularly how stigma is an impediment to seeking help, support and treatment.
  • Alan Borsuk, senior fellow in law and public policy, Marquette Law School. He studies and writes about current educational policies and politics in Wisconsin, with 37 years of experience at the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He will discuss how mental health issues have been rising as a priority among school leaders, what is being done in broad terms on the part of schools to increase response to mental health needs, and what seems to be shaping up in terms of the way the next state budget may help schools or providers do more for mental health of young people.

The moderator will be Brian H. Smith, professor of religion, the Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Chair in Religion, Ethics and Values, and co-director of the Center for Politics and the People at Ripon College.

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