Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force Overview

The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force is committed to being a leader in identifying issues faced by all people affected by mental illness, facilitating improvements in mental health services, giving consumers and families a strong voice, reducing stigma, and implementing recovery principles.

For more information about our agenda and strategic plan for 2010 – 2012, click here.

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The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force provides a forum wherein different sectors of the mental health delivery system come together to address and resolve issues of interest to all people affected by mental illness. The Task Force was formed in 2004, in response to a crisis in inpatient psychiatric services that exposed major gaps in Milwaukee’s system of mental health care, as documented in the Critical Juncture Report. The Task Force members include consumer groups, advocacy organizations, providers, law enforcement, and other community stakeholders.  Click here to view a list of current Mental Health Task Force Steering Committee members.  The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force has a sizable list of accomplishments in the community.

Mission Statement

The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force is committed to being a leader in identifying issues faced by all people affected by mental illness, facilitating improvements in mental health services, giving consumers and families a strong voice, reducing stigma, and implementing recovery principles.

Our History

In 2004, in response to a crisis in inpatient psychiatric services that exposed major gaps in Milwaukee’s system of mental health care, the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force was officially formed. The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force is committed to being a leader in identifying issues faced by all people affected by mental illness, facilitating improvements in mental health services, giving consumers and families a strong voice, reducing stigma, and implementing recovery principles.

In 2008, the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force continues to provide a forum wherein different sectors of the mental health delivery system come together to address and resolve issues of interest to all people affected by mental illness.

Over 45 organizations and agencies continue participation as Task Force members, including:

  • mental health consumer groups such as Warmline Inc, Vital Voices, Our Space and NAMI
  • representatives of the criminal justice system including the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices, and the Sheriff’s and Police Departments
  • community mental health service providers such as Transitional Living Services (TLS), Justice 2000 and Wisconsin Community Services (WCS)
  • advocacy agencies such as the Mental Health America and Disability Rights Wisconsin
  • health care representatives from hospital systems and managed care organizations
  • Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division program staff and leadership

The coordination of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force has been made possible by three consecutive grant awards from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to Disability Rights Wisconsin. Without the support of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, much of the Task Force’s work would not be possible.

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principle 1: Leadership

The Mental Health Task Force will be the leading voice and take courageous stands on issues of importance to people with mental illness in Milwaukee County. We will serve as organized, strategic, and proactive agents for change on the issues we address.

Guiding Principle 2: Task Force Mindset

The Task Force is committed to the concept that everyone is equal and everyone plays a role. Consumers of mental health services will have a strong voice and leadership roles in all aspects of the Task Force. Task Force members will strive to set aside self interest for the good of the overall organization, and will follow through on their commitments.

Guiding Principle 3: Recovery

The Task Force will take a Recovery orientation in all aspects of our activity, including maintaining a strong consumer-centered focus and working to ensure that Recovery principles are incorporated in all elements of mental health system reform and service delivery.

Guiding Principle 4: Commitment to the Community

The Task Force believes that people of all ages with mental illness deserve high quality services delivered in community settings of their choosing. We also promote the concept that the entire community needs to be responsive to and accountable for all its members, including those with psychiatric disabilities.

Guiding Principle 5: Respecting Diversity

The Task Force membership will strive to be reflective of the Milwaukee community, and will work to continually improve our cultural competence across all racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and disability-related cultures.

Guiding Principle 6: Education

The Mental Health Task Force will serve as an educational resource to the Milwaukee community, including the general public, elected officials, the media, and public and private mental health service delivery systems on the issues faced by people with mental illness. In all our communications we will strive to reduce stigma and stereotypical attitudes that create additional barriers for people with mental illness.

Guiding Principle 7: Communication Hub

The Task Force will serve as a coalition of coalitions, sharing our information and resources broadly and serving as a clearinghouse for best practices in mental health service delivery.