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Mental health screening earns business innovation award

An in-school mental health screening program that works to save students from suicide was recognized with a special category of Insight Magazine’s Thinc! Innovation Awards after identifying 1,190 Fox Valley students at risk of suicide.

Samaritan Counseling of Menasha received the special award for Excellence in Community Response at the sixth annual Technology & Human Innovation Networking Conference at UW-Fox Valley. The business magazine annually recognizes business innovators in four categories — people, planet, process and product — but decided to add a fifth this year to recognize Samaritan’s success.

The project received a $125,000 grant over the past three years from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership for expansion of the Connected Community Wellness Screen (formerly TeenScreen) project, which began in response to a high rate of teen suicides and attempts in the Heart of the Valley. The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is funded by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Community Foundation from the annual U.S. Venture Open golf outing, with additional money from the J. J. Keller Foundation and other community partners.

Over the three years of the grant, the program has grown from one school district to 10 and has provided mental health screening for 4,700 teens. It has identified 1,190 youth with symptoms associated with suicide risk, referred 924 for evaluation and connected 429 with care.

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