Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive


As we kick off the start to a new school year, Dane County is stepping up and increasing our commitment to addressing mental health challenges and getting help to those in need.

The Mental Health Crisis Teams program was created in my 2014 budget as my most significant policy initiative. The school-based teams help if a mental health crisis occurs and identify students struggling with mental illness before it becomes a crisis. Our teams were able to serve 75 kids from 52 different Dane County schools during the second quarter of 2017.

After hearing from school districts, teachers, and parents on the success of the program, I increased this year’s county investment in Mental Health Crisis Teams. This has allowed us to provide a team for all four Madison high school attendance areas, along with four new teams for Waunakee, Oregon, Mount Horeb and Stoughton.

Due to these expansions, our teams will now work with 10 Dane County school districts and have established slots to serve at least 260 four-year-old kindergarten through eighth grade students and their families.

We must continue to work with our schools and families to get kids the help they need and allow teachers to focus on teaching. Our schools cannot do it all. The county, the nonprofit sector and families all must help make sure our next generation of young minds is given the opportunity to succeed. I am proud to help further Dane County’s commitment to the next generation.