Resilient Wisconsin aims to improve mental and behavioral health

Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed the month of May ‘Resilient Wisconsin’...
Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed the month of May ‘Resilient Wisconsin’ month. Its goal: improving mental health.(NBC15)
Published: May. 7, 2020 at 12:27 PM CDT
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Governor Tony Evers has proclaimed the month of May ‘Resilient Wisconsin’ month.

Its goal: improving mental health.

"It's hard for firefighters and cops I think because there's a stigma about talking about your feelings,” Town of Beloit Sergeant Gregg Cisneros said.

Cisneros has experienced a lot of traumatic moments during his time as a police officer.

"Early on in my career, a partner and I went to a child death," Cisneros said. “"I think it was a child that wasn't breathing or appeared lifeless and we responded to the call and the parents were there."

Afterwards, a supervisor asked Cisneros if he wanted to discuss what happened.

"Up until that moment, I felt okay, but once I started talking to my sergeant about this, I really let things out,” Cisneros said. “I was a mess, tears were coming down and I was crying and it felt really good to talk to somebody about that."

Realizing what it felt like to sort out his feelings tied to his experiences on the job, Cisneros wanted to encourage others to do the same by supporting a new state initiative called ‘Resilient Wisconsin.’

"Originally, it was aimed at first responders,” Trauma and Resilience Program Manager Robin Matthies said. “This is supposed to be a landing spot for people not to have to go through all of these channels to find this information on how they can get support and or take care of themselves during a time of crisis."

Matthies said the Department of Health Services (DHS) quickly expanded the program to provide resources and tips to anyone and everyone who needs tips on staying positive or assistance with mental or behavioral health.

The department launched the website five months early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are positive things out there and we need to remind ourselves about that and our friends, family, colleagues,” Matthies said.

Since Gov. Evers’ announcement of the program on April 3, more than 42,000 people have visited the Resilient Wisconsin web page.

"I think more people are going to realize that it's more common that they thought,” Cisneros said. “You're not alone in this, there are other people dealing with the same issue and feelings.”