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La Crosse, state organizations receive grants for addressing mental health of teens amid COVID

La Crosse Tribune - 8/4/2021

Aug. 4—A La Crosse organization is among 14 entities statewide to receive a grant to address the physical or mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health is awarding a total of $2.7 million to community organizations and researchers throughout the state, including $1.6 million to eight entities focusing on emotional health among youth and $1.1 million to six researchers looking at the health challenges of the pandemic.

The grants expand upon the WPP's COVID-19 Response Grant Program, which in total has given over $6 million through 44 grants "to strengthen the resilience of Wisconsin families and communities, deepen understanding about COVID-19 and inform approaches to prevention and treatments."

Among the organizations to receive $200,000 towards adolescent social and emotional health efforts is the La Crosse County System of Care. The funds will go towards expanding and enhancing support for young persons most impacted by the pandemic, in particular Black youth.

La Crosse System of Care, a partnership between the School District of La Crosse and La Crosse County, was designed to provide interventions and supports to "keep youth mentally healthy, safe from abuse and neglect and to prevent arrests for behaviors that are often rooted in mental health or other complex needs." Community Cultural Liaisons, contracted the Black-led non-profit Hope Restores, help increase culturally responsive services and provide parents and guardians with the skills to address the social and emotional needs of their families.

GSAFE, a statewide organization created to help LGBTQ youth and students thrive in schools, also received $200,000 to further support BIPOC, trans, nonbinary and LGBTQ+ adolescents through new programs and resources "that expand pathways to youth leadership and increase educators' ability to provide affirming and inclusive classrooms and schools."

The Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, which operates the Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH) Youth Advocacy Fellowship program, was given $200,000 to further its mission of empowering youth to be advocates for themselves and their peers, including in regards to their mental, social and physical health. La Crosse has a chapter of PATCH.

Emily Pyrek can be reached at [email protected].

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