Back to School Can be Tough for Students with Mental Health Challenges Rogers InHealth unveils new social media resources to help

Aug. 22, 2014

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. – For students facing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and bi-polar, the stresses and challenges of a new school year can be magnified if they find themselves in school environments, working with teachers, or interacting with friends and family members that are not supportive.

According to Sue McKenzie, co-director Rogers InHealth, a department of Rogers Behavioral System which has treatment facilities in Oconomowoc, Milwaukee, Madison, Kenosha and Brown Deer, “Approximately 20 percent of all children would benefit from mental health services, yet only 1/5 (or 20 percent) of them receive help. For those who don’t, the untreated mental disorders are likely to persist, become more severe, difficult to treat, and as a result, approximately 50 percent of students age 14 and older who are living with a mental illness drop out of high school. This is the highest dropout rate of any disability group. These statistics are particularly troubling when we know that children who receive effective services go on to find success at school, with family and friendships, and that carries into their future.”

Rogers InHealth has recognized the need to decrease the stigma of and increase the support for students and families dealing with mental health challenges, so they can effectively move from illness to recovery. The organization has created a series of brief videos that highlight stories of recovery and strategies that youth, parents and educators have found to work in the face of mental health challenges. The video clips were created to empower families and teachers as they support children with mental health challenges.

The schools tab of the Rogers InHealth website,, directs the visitor to specific social media based video content. The brief videos share personal stories of students in recovery, as well as effective support practices of parents and teachers. The site also has “reality videos” of strategies used in classrooms in MPS where teachers support children in their learning every day.

McKenzie says, “While navigating school and health systems to get support for children’s mental health challenges can be tough, everyone involved needs to realize that hopeful outcomes are a reality when parents, schools, therapists and the child work together. These personal stories constantly reinforce this message. The relationship is number one! Second is the team that works together to learn how to best support the child’s resiliency.”

The premise of the social media site is founded upon the evidence-based work of international stigma researcher, Patrick Corrigan, Illinois Institute of Technology. His research revealed personal contact with a person living in recovery with mental illness is the most effective means to diminishing stigma, demonstrating that it is contact, more than knowledge that increases positive attitudes and supportive behaviors.

McKenzie adds the collaboration stories on the site help to reinforce why talking to your child’s school or connecting with your child’s therapist is a good idea. One story on the website, (, highlights Marisa, who began cutting herself in high school. She knew something was wrong but was afraid to speak to her parents. Attending school was difficult because of her overwhelming feelings. She finally confided in a coach that she didn’t want to die but didn’t want to live her whole life like she currently was. With help from therapist, medication, school accommodations, parental support, she found recovery. Now an adult, Marisa is a kindergarten teacher and applies the wisdom from her own experience to connect with children and help parents consider how to best support their children.

Suzette Urbashich, co-director with McKenzie, adds, “We have to all work together to eliminate the stigma that discourages individuals and families challenged by mental illness from seeking treatment and support for recovery. This site has the potential to help many if they utilize it. Stigma impacts productivity in schools, the workforce, and community health. Without treatment, consequences of mental illness for individuals and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, diminished educational attainment, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, and suicide. The economic cost of untreated mental illness in the US is more than 100 billion dollars annually.”

For more information on Rogers InHealth or to view more stories visit: or please contact Sue McKenzie at or 414-759-3374.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» 10-year-old girl dies after freeway crash in Dane County 11/25

» Wauwatosa unveils convenient, affordable water online water bill payment options 11/25

» Wauwatosa East girls basketball team uses big second half to beat Wisconsin Lutheran 11/25

» Plenty of positives in Wauwatosa West girls' basketball loss to Kettle Moraine 11/25

» Wauwatosa East boys basketball team could battle for GMC title 11/25

» Wauwatosa West swimming team has bright future with talented underclassmen on the rise 11/25

» MacGillis, Barkow share Wauwatosa West boys volleyball MVP honors 11/25

» Wauwatosa West boys basketball team looks for improvement 11/25

» Sports Notes: Nov. 26, 2015 11/25

» Wauwatosa East volleyball season has solid season despite just missing another trip to state 11/25

» Wauwatosa Hurricanes return three state qualifiers — Danny Larson, Cal Hartt, Avery Weishoff 11/25

» Milwaukee County Zoo celebrates first birthday of young gorilla 11/24

» Wauwatosa stores set Thanksgiving, Black Friday hours 11/23

» Tosa's city health department earns national accreditation 11/23

» Free screening of 'Most Likely to Succeed' held Dec. 1 11/23

» Wauwatosa stores launch Small Business Saturday event 11/20

» Updated state championship game rankings of area prep football teams and players 11/19

» Wauwatosa dealership taking 'extra precautions' after four vehicles were stolen Updated:  11/19

» Wauwatosa East girls basketball team has plenty of experience returning 11/18

» Wauwatosa East's Potter earns two team cross-country awards 11/18

» Wauwatosa West girls to field experienced basketball team 11/18

» Wauwatosa East's Ripple ends career with impressive showing at state swimming meet 11/18

» Wauwatosa West freshman Julia Larson does well at state swimming championships 11/17

» Wauwatosa West's Alicia Picard, Alyssa Piek, Nicole Mystrow earn top tennis honors 11/17

» Christian Laettner hoops camps at Wauwatosa East successful 11/17

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss



Hidden Tosa


"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.


Local Business Directory