DHS: Wisconsin awarded crisis counseling response grant

Funding will support services for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Through a $675,526 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded to Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is partnering with the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association to provide crisis counseling services to people experiencing anxiety and stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily changed the way we work and live, go to school, and spend time together,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Limiting close contact with each other protects everyone’s health, including those who are most vulnerable. It also helps ensure vital health care resources remain available for those who need them. But knowing that doesn’t make it easy. This funding will be used to promote healthy ways to cope and stay strong.” 

The crisis counseling program is designed to help people understand their current situation and reactions, and support short-term interventions focused on mitigating stress, promoting the use or development of coping strategies, and encouraging links with people and agencies who may help in the recovery process. To comply with physical distancing recommendations, services will be delivered by phone, internet, and the media, including social media.

The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association will contract with Community Action, Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin, NEWCAP, Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency, and the Social Development Commission to provide the crisis counseling services in areas with the greatest need for the program, including Brown, Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, Rock, and Walworth counties. The partner agencies are in the process of developing the program for their designated counties, with services to be available by early July.

Common warning signs of emotional distress include:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
  • Pulling away from people and things.
  • Having low or no energy.
  • Having unexplained aches and pains, such as constant stomachaches or headaches.
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless.
  • Excessive smoking, drinking, or using drugs, including prescription medications.
  • Worrying a lot of the time; feeling guilty but not sure why.
  • Thinking of hurting or killing yourself or someone else.

For free, confidential support and resources, call 800-273-8255 or text HOPELINE to 741741.

Visit the Resilient Wisconsin website for information on how to manage stress and build the ability to adapt and recover from adversity.