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Mental Health Services

No one talks about the impact the COVID-19 Pandemic had on students and young people. Now it's just business as normal. It’s not right, and must change. COVID had a huge impact on everyone, students especially -- and it requires our focus.

Even prior to the pandemic, large amounts of students and young people struggled with Mental Health, the pandemic has just made it infinitely worse. And although the City of Madison has improved their mental health services through the Community Alternative Response for Emergency Services (CARES) program, there is more work that can be done. CARES is an extraordinary program that allows mental health professionals to join emergency services in a 911 call, if the caller is determined to be experiencing a mental health issue, the police will leave and mental health professionals will take over. This prevents callers from having to explain to police their situation, and creates a safer environment for the caller to get the right help. 

UW-Madison has a very similar program between UHS and UWPD, the Co-Responder Program, initiated by the BIPOC Coalition in 2020 with the help of the Associated Students of Madison. And although I've worked directly with the Governor’s Office to get this university program more funding, the Co-Responder Program only serves on campus callers. CARES on the other hand is what off-campus students will have to rely on, which is not run 24/7.

By further funding CARES, we can directly help students facing mental health crises while at the same time removing police from situations they should not be involved in from the beginning. I want to expand access to this service by making it 24/7, work to get the Madison Police Department out of the situation entirely, and eventually merge UW-Madison's Co-Responder Program and CARES together to ensure all students are given the same resources regardless of whether they live on campus or off campus.

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