Children’s Wisconsin is recruiting mental health providers and staff in order to open a walk-in clinic for kids experiencing urgent mental health needs. It is the latest step by Children’s Wisconsin to invest $150 million in mental health programs that address the mental and behavioral health crisis facing Wisconsin youth.
The clinic’s opening date will be based on when staff are hired and trained, with a goal of opening in early 2022. Children’s Wisconsin continues to actively recruit licensed therapists, social workers and clinic assistants who are familiar with community resources and have experience or want to support kids with urgent needs.
The Craig Yabuki Mental Health Walk-In Clinic will be located within the Clinics Building of Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee. It will serve children and teens ages 5-18 and provide services seven days a week from 3-11 p.m.
Staff will provide evaluations and determine any immediate safety concerns, and they will communicate with a child’s existing doctors and therapists to ensure continuing resources are available after the visit. When needed, the clinic team will have access to a psychiatrist. The purpose of the clinic is to provide immediate, temporary support, and is not a replacement for ongoing therapy or care by a mental health provider. The Mental Health Crisis Response Team in the Children’s Wisconsin Emergency Department and Trauma Center (EDTC) will remain a resource for children in life-threatening and emergency situations.
“At Children’s Wisconsin, we truly want our kids to be the healthiest in the nation,” said Amy Herbst, MSSW, APSW, vice president of mental and behavioral health, Children’s Wisconsin. “Just like children deserve to have a broken arm or concussion treated when they need it, they also deserve to get the proper mental and behavioral health care when they need it. Our goal is to provide an option for children and teens who need more immediate support.”
Children’s mental health is a crisis that has been exacerbated by COVID-19. Before the pandemic, one in five children was living with mental illness and Wisconsin’s suicide rate was higher than most of the United States. Since the pandemic began, visits to the Children’s Wisconsin EDTC for mental and behavioral health concerns have increased by 40 percent.
The name of the clinic is in recognition of a $20 million gift from The Yabuki Family Foundation. In 2017, Craig Yabuki died by suicide, leaving behind a wife and three young children. His brother, Jeff Yabuki, and his family are committed to helping Children’s Wisconsin transform the delivery of integrated mental and behavioral health care. Their donation directly supports the addition of mental health providers to all of Children’s Wisconsin primary care offices and urgent care clinics. The gift is not directly supporting the walk-in clinic.