Sheriff applauds local efforts addressing mental health awareness

For people suffering from mental health issues, Sheriff Matt Joski says Kewaunee County does a great job making sure no one feels alone. Some of the efforts include trainings in the suicide prevention protocol known as QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), implementing trauma-informed care across several Kewaunee County-based entities, and hosting emotional wellbeing workshops. Joski says everyone has their own struggles, but the key is to control the issues rather than be controlled by them.

He also adds resilience is an important skill for others to embrace, which means turning those struggles into teachable moments rather than downfalls. You can read the entire article by Sheriff Matt Joski online with this story.




May tends to be a very busy month as it relates to awareness initiatives. Among the many issues that we focus on, few are more important than Mental Health Awareness. One of the reasons it is so vital to focus on Mental Health Awareness is that as a culture, there still remains a great deal of hesitation in discussing not only the subject but to a greater extent, our own personal state of mental health. We think nothing of calling a medical physician when we have a physical ailment, or sharing with friends and family if we had a recent medical emergency or procedure. This is not the case when it comes to our mental health. We tend to hide the circumstances or symptoms hoping no one will ever detect or know what we are going through. We isolate ourselves when dealing with a mental health struggle, and even more tragic, we tend to withdraw from those around us who are showing symptoms of their own personal struggle.


Just as in anything we attempt to confront and conquer, we must first identify it and call it for what it is. The Webster Dictionary’s definition of mental health is: a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional wellbeing. Wikipedia also expands it and goes on to state that from the perspectives of positive psychology, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life, and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. This last word, “Resilience” is important as this is our ability to live not in the absence of trauma or struggle, but to use those experiences as a source of strength and endurance. The ability to control our mental health rather than to be controlled by it is a skill which requires deliberate effort each and every day.


I think it is important to state right from the beginning that we are all broken in one way or another. We have all faced trauma or struggles in our lives which we carry with us every day. It is very easy to just compare scars, but it is more essential that we share what we are going through or have gone through to empower those around us and provide an environment that encourages the ability to share their own struggles. It is through the sharing that we are able to be a resource for each other especially in a society with very limited number of professional mental health practitioners. We are each the first line of defense in any mental health crisis, and without knowing it, each one of us could be the difference between another person’s reasons to live versus giving up hope.


We should all challenge ourselves to rise above simple conversations of sports, politics, or local gossip, to conversations which have deep meaningful impact in our lives or that of our family and friends. We should not be afraid to stop and take the time to really hear the answer when we say “How are you doing today?” for more information on mental health and what we can all do to support a healthy mental health, go to:

Locally we also have some great work being done on the subject of mental health awareness including many trained in the suicide prevention protocol of QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) as well as some great information which is shared through our very own emotional wellbeing workgroup which meets on a regular basis. For more information on our local initiatives please contact Renee Koenig of the Kewaunee County UW extension.


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