Press Release: Gov. Evers Delivers Radio Address on Mental Health

Office of Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers Delivers Radio Address on Mental Health
Audio File of Radio Address.

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today delivered the Democratic Radio Address highlighting his plan to expand access to mental and behavioral healthcare across Wisconsin. This included the governor’s $270 million investment to continue the “Get Kids Ahead” initiative to expand school-based mental health supports for kids, which Republican members of the Joint Finance Committee rejected on Tuesday, along with more than 540 additional provisions from the governor’s 2023-25 budget. More information regarding Gov. Evers’ budget proposals to support Wisconsinites’ mental health is available here.

Hey there, Governor Tony Evers here.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the state of mental health in Wisconsin is a quiet, burgeoning crisis that will have consequences for generations if we don’t treat it with the urgency it requires.

That’s why I declared 2023 the Year of Mental Health.

And we’re proposing an overall investment of roughly $500 million to expand access to mental and behavioral health services for folks across our state in my budget, including a $270 million investment in the “Get Kids Ahead” initiative to bolster school mental health services for our kids.

This includes critical investments to increase the number of mental health professionals across Wisconsin, develop robust prevention strategies to reduce suicide and self-harm, support 988, a new national suicide and crisis lifeline, and improve crisis response across the state, especially for our young people.

We’ve also seen record-high opioid-related overdose deaths recently and more and more folks struggling with substance use disorders. That’s why my budget also includes investments to help those who are struggling to get the treatment and support they need.

Mental and behavioral health is as much a health issue as it is an economic one: it affects kids in the classroom; it affects workers being able to join and stay in our workforce; it affects whether folks are able to stay in safe housing or have economic security; it affects folks’ ability to take care of and provide for their family and their loved ones.

Folks, we cannot look back years from now and wonder whether we should’ve done more and sooner to take good care of our mental health.

And if you are struggling, please know that help is available. Call 211 to learn about resources in your community, talk to your loved ones or healthcare provider, or if you’re in crisis, call or text 988 for immediate help. You are not alone.

Thank you.
An online version of this release is available here.