Aspirus, Raise Your Voice, RISEUP collaborating on art-focused youth mental health initiative 

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – Aspirus Health, Raise Your Voice and RISEUP Central Wisconsin are collaborating on an art-focused youth mental health initiative.

In a release, Aspirus said youth mental health is a “critical issue that often goes unaddressed or stigmatized, despite its prevalence and impact on individuals and communities.”

Satterwaite. Photo courtesy of Aspirus.

“We can see that anxiety and depression have spiked since the advent of cell phones and social media,” said Richard Satterwaite, LPC, Aspirus Clinical Therapist. “Now you throw in a couple years of COVID, and it’s produced a group of people that don’t do well in social situations.”

Recognizing the urgency of this issue, Raise Your Voice and RISEUP Central Wisconsin are collaborating to empower youth and provide them with avenues for expression and support. Aspirus said it has a relationship with both organizations and aims to capitalize on a collaborative approach to help address a growing issue.

“We’re leveraging the power of art to facilitate healing and dialogue around mental health by creating a mural about mental health,” said Tara Draeger, Aspirus System Community Health and Health Equity Director. 

As part of this initiative, workshops are being organized to give students from local high schools a platform to share their experiences and emotions through art. Aspirus said these workshops “serve as safe spaces where participants can explore their feelings, struggles and hopes, while professional artists help them translate those experiences into visual representations.”

“The resulting murals will not only serve as tangible symbols of resilience and solidarity, but also spark conversations and raise awareness about youth mental health within the community,” Aspirus stated. “By amplifying the voices of young people and promoting understanding, the initiative aims to break down barriers, reduce stigma and foster a culture of support and acceptance.”

“I believe the answer to the problems in our world lies within our youth,” said Allie Libby, Merrill High School Associate Principal. “Hopefully, the experiences from this program will have a positive effect in the communities of these students.”

“The collaboration between Raise Your Voice, RISEUP Central Wisconsin, and Aspirus represents a step towards addressing youth mental health,” Aspirus said. “By harnessing the power of art and providing safe spaces for expression, these initiatives are sparking essential conversations and fostering resilience within our communities.”

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