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Voices From the Valley

A podcast of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region

Healthy Teen Minds

Do you know how our youth are doing, as far as mental health and wellness? How can we in the Fox Valley help our teens, and prevent the things that can lead to anxiety or even a crisis? The answers are complex, and challenging.

There is no doubt our teens are in crisis – with pressures our older generations can’t even imagine, because it really is a new world – and Covid made it worse.

According to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, we’re seeing the continuation of a decade-long trend: The number of students reporting they feel “sad and hopeless” was up again, now at 34 percent statewide. Students reporting significant anxiety has increased to 52 percent. Meanwhile, 18 percent of all students surveyed seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months, the highest rate since 2003.  

But there is some good news: Local efforts to strengthen the mental wellness of our students are beginning to have a positive impact – and that’s where our Voices from the Valley podcast episode will focus. We sat down with Wendy Harris, who coordinates a program called Healthy Teen Minds, an initiative of The N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, now called The Connection. And we visited Appleton North High School, to see how its “Sources of Strength” model, implemented at schools in several Fox Valley districts, is helping teens feel included and less isolated.


Our last episode, Mental Health: A Path Forward, focused on how we can help the 1 in 5 adults in our community who are experiencing mental illness. We talked about a brand new report with important action steps based on last year’s local Mind Your Wellness Survey – and the recommendations we as a community need to follow to make an impact. Be sure to visit for all the mental health and wellness resources in the Fox Valley.

Learn more

More Links

One-Stop Website of Mental Health Resources in the Fox Valley:

Fox Cities residents in need of mental health and substance abuse services for themselves or a loved one now have a path to many resources just a mouse click away.

The coalition Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection has brought together providers from Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago counties to offer information on available services at A website user can do everything from researching a mental health topic to taking an anonymous mental health screening to locating a therapist.

Your hosts:

Amy Spreeman

Kyle Armstrong





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Voices from the Valley