UW-Madison Division of Extension’s Behavioral Health program promotes positive mental health by teaching skills to manage stress more effectively, practice self-care and reduce risky substance use by youth and adults. We also build community skills, tools and resources to promote health.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”

According to Mental Health America, one in five people will experience mental illness during their lifetime. Mental health issues are also a significant contributor to suicide, which claims the lives of nearly 50,000 people per year in the United States alone. Even with mental illness impacting so many people, there is still a lot of stigma around seeking help or talking about mental health issues.

In communities across Wisconsin, Extension educators utilize UW-Madison research and resources to help local leaders build healthier communities. We support positive behavioral health by:

  • Working with local health coalitions to identify needs, community priorities and the interventions needed to address opioid and stimulant prevention, treatment and recovery in our communities.
  • Providing or supporting the facilitation of suicide prevention training programs to better equip community members to help those who may be experiencing a mental health crisis or substance use disorder.
  • Teaching adults and youth coping skills to combat stress with evidence-based mindfulness and positive emotion interventions programs
  • Conducting naloxone instructor training
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