Gov. Tony Evers recently signed a bill into law that provides grant funding for peer-to-peer suicide prevention programs in schools across the state. Lawmakers on the suicide prevention task force stated that they proposed the bill after watching and hearing from the young voices featured in “Kids in Crisis: You’re Not Alone,” a documentary about youth mental health that was produced by Milwaukee PBS in collaboration with USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. After the bill signing at Milton High School, state Rep. Joan Ballweg, co-chair of the task force, told Journal Sentinel reporter Rory Linanne, who is also a producer of the documentary, that the new law was inspired by the stories shared in the film by TJ, Alex, Reyña and Barrett. “The things that were done by the documentary crew has been very helpful in helping people around the state and my colleagues in the legislature to understand the crisis of youth behavioral health and suicide," Ballweg said. You can read Linnane's full article about the bill signing here.
Kids in Crisis: You're Not Alone Documentary
The documentary follows four young people from Wisconsin navigating mental health challenges. They’ve endured assault, bullying, incarceration, and discrimination. Some thought about suicide. But through the pain, they found support from family, friends, and strangers. They found the strength within themselves. They’re sharing their stories to let others know they’re not alone and that healing is possible. The film is an extension of USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s Kids in Crisis series, which over the past three years has uncovered rising suicide rates and gaps in mental health care in Wisconsin. The hour-long program begins with the inspiring half-hour documentary while the second half of the show will feature interactive discussions with mental health professionals and others who have experienced the effects of mental health issues.
Suicide prevention hotline to have three-digit number for mental health emergencies: 988
When the rule is finalized, people struggling with suicidal thoughts will be able to get help by dialing 988.
When he was 13, TJ told his family he was transgender. With support from his family and friends through his transition, he now feels comfortable being himself and dreaming of his future. At 16, he is sharing his story out of concern for his transgender peers, who don't experience as much acceptance, who experience higher levels of mental health challenges and suicidal thoughts.
This Racine teen uses his creativity to cope with the difficult parts of his life, including homelessness and bullying. Alex has also turned his talent into a business, designing bow ties to help support his non-profit, Build-a-Bow.
Now in her first year at college, this Brookfield East graduate is trying to put her high school years behind her, especially the emotional scars. For Barrett, high school was hard. She struggled with her parents’ divorce, bullying, and diagnosis of OCD, anxiety and depression.
Since the age of 4, Reyna grew up in the “system” – first bouncing between foster homes and then, due to her violent behavior, treatment facilities and detention centers. Her mental health issues are most likely the result of severe childhood trauma she experienced. Reyna’s been diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Documentary on youth mental health produced in partnership with the USA TODAY Network-Wisconsin and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Four young people share their mental health journeys in hopes of encouraging others to get help for their mental health challenges.
The second half of the program features interactive discussions with mental health professionals and others.
10thirtysix presents a follow-up to its nationally acclaimed documentary "Kids in Crisis: You're Not Alone" about youth mental health. Two young women who shared a moving exchange during a peer outreach event, which was captured by our documentary, now tell their own stories about mental health challenges and their new found friendship. Plus, find out how the documentary and the producers' visit to the State Capitol are impacting proposed policy changes when it comes to mental health challenges in Wisconsin. 10thirtysix presents a follow-up to its nationally acclaimed documentary "Kids in Crisis: You're Not Alone" about youth mental health. Two young women who shared a moving exchange during a peer outreach event, which was captured by our documentary, now tell their own stories about mental health challenges and their new found friendship. Plus, find out how the documentary and the producers' visit to the State Capitol are impacting proposed policy changes when it comes to mental health challenges in Wisconsin.
Task force chair Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, said the bill was inspired by stories shared by young people in the Milwaukee PBS and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel documentary, “You’re Not Alone,” who’d helped their peers talk about mental health challenges. -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel--"110% resonate with this documentary. My community and my school really needs to see this. I plan to show this to my teachers/mayors to see what they think. I want to see if I can incorporate it into a mental awareness day or week at my school or my community that I've been really wanting to have. Thank you so much for making this documentary and being a major part in breaking the mental health stigma!" -- Jasmine, high school student, Colorado
"I must say that the documentary is AMAZING and very well done.
The same themes heard in the documentary I hear in my practice with teens, which is very impactful. I plan to incorporate this documentary within my sessions with teens and parents.“ -- Patrice Griffin, Behavioral Health Clinician, Central Virginia Health Services
--I wanted to say thank you for bringing this amazing documentary to Pius XI. The resilience and strength shown in this group of young people is commendable. It was wonderful to host the event. Thank you for your dedication to the de-stigmatization of mental health issues in high school. -- Kara Rogatzki, Assistant Principal of Academics, Pius XI Catholic High School
Impact in the news
A New State Law Will Fund Suicide Prevention Programs in Wisconsin Schools. Here's how they work.
Rory Linnane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, attended the bill signing ceremony at Milton High School where Governor Tony Evers signed bill AB 528 into law. The bill will allow for grant opportunities that schools can use to start peer-to-peer mentoring programs.
2019 Speaker's Task Force on Suicide Prevention - Part 1 - Ripon, WI
On June 17, 2019, the Assembly Speaker's Task Force on Suicide Prevention held an informational hearing and a public hearing in Ripon, WI. This is part one of two parts, and features the screening of Kids in Crisis: You're Not Alone, A documentary about youth mental health produced by Milwaukee PBS in partnership with USA TODAY NETWORK Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Following the screening, the task force held a panel conversation about the documentary.
Lawmakers Recommend Funding for Suicide Prevention Director, Grants, State Hotline
As reported in the September 25, edition of the Wisconsin State Journal, lawmakers met to recommend funding for suicide prevention programs. The session included Milwaukee PBS producers and crew members, along with the four young people featured in the documentary. Lawmakers were invited to the state Capitol by Wisconsin State Representative Joan Ballweg who had viewed the documentary earlier and decided it was time to take action. As a result, the Assembly Speaker's Task Force on Suicide Prevention proposed 10 bills to improve mental health outcomes throughout the state.