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Samaritan Counseling Center to digitize teen suicide prevention program

From paper to digital data: An Appleton East student takes a wellness screening. Thanks to a grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation, Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley will retire its paper-based filing system and implement an electronic database in local schools to prevent teen suicide in the Fox Valley.


By Jen Parsons, wellness screen program director, Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley

Connected Community Wellness Screen aims to prevent teen suicide, and to identify unmet mental health needs of our region’s youth.

The program launched with one staff member and screened 23 students. The screening team has grown to 13 and has offered the screenings to over 14,900 K-12 students in 56 school sites in 10 districts throughout three counties during the last 2018-19 academic year.

Members of the Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley’s Wellness Screen team

We are connecting hundreds of students to life-saving mental health services. Up to this point, however we have relied on a paper-based database that requires manual printing, collating and mailing forms and reports. Due to our phenomenal program growth, the current system has become overloaded and lacks the statistical functions we need to guide our decision-making.

By receiving this Bright Idea Fund grant to support an updated electronic database, we will serve families the way we promise to, ensure a more desired outcome with getting results to families faster, and getting them to the right care more efficiently. Providing excellent quality care to families is one our top priorities, and this new database will help us to do that.

Through this process we received the help of IT Forward’s Brian Arpke, who was instrumental in helping us navigate the technology available for our team to ensure that we found the best fit for our program’s growing needs. The Community Foundation and the Non-Profit Leadership Initiative supported us with this resource, and we are very grateful! Stephanie Biesterveld, who works as a case manager on the wellness screen team, serves as the lead for data collection and development of the database framework. We are so thankful she is a part of our team!

We are kicking off the project this week, and we hope to pilot the database in one of our school sites this fall. We look forward to rolling it out to other school sites in the spring of 2020. Thank you so much to the Community Foundation, and the Bright Idea Fund. This database will not only allow our team to provide a higher quality service to our community, it will save lives through this project. We are very thankful for your support!


You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.

Check out our current Bright Idea Fund results from 2018 – 2019!
See how our Bright Idea Fund impacted our community last year.

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