Mental Health Policy Initiative

The Mental Health Policy Initiative was a multi-year project that aimed to improve state and local policies for individuals suffering from mental illness. Funded by a 2009 gift from Wildflower Communities, the Mental Health Policy Initiative engaged in:

  • Helping to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness to ensure that it is regarded and treated as the chronic medical condition that it is;

  • Increasing public and private funding for mental health services as part of the extension of insurance to all Wisconsin residents. The Public Policy Institute played a major role in the 2010 enactment of the Wisconsin Parity Act. This Act requires that all commercially purchased group health insurance plans provide mental health and addiction treatment insurance benefits at parity levels of coverage with physical conditions. We also assisted the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance in helping to promulgate the administrative rules that implement the law;

  • Integrating mental health treatment with addiction treatment, physical health services, and non-health services such as employment and housing; and

  • Improving the decision-making processes used by governmental agencies and private organizations as they work with those who have a mental illness.

  • Assisting the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County with the successful passage of zoning ordinance changes to improve the development and siting process and provision of services for permanent supportive housing and transitional housing projects.