Summer 2022

Dear Journey Community,
My how the seasons have changed so fast! Can you believe that it's already time for our summer newsletter? We sure can't! And we also have so much to tell you about this time around too! 
Journey Mental Health Center

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Featured above:  Heidi Pankoke,  Journey's Board Vice Chair (Left), and Jim Christensen, Journey's Board Chair (Right) at the Journey Summer Bash.



What's New at Journey?



Journey Summer Bash

By Larissa Lederman, Journey's Administrative Assistant

Featured above: Larissa Lederman on 'Color Day' of Journeys Spirit Week, leading to the Journey Summer Bash

Journey staff members were able to meet once again after 3 years at Journey’s all-staff appreciation event, better known as Journey’s Summer Bash! Leading up to the event were the Journey spirit days, where staff showed off their pride by wearing a variety of different outfits before the bash. With the help of Journey’s Wellness Committee, all staff across the agency were invited to attend the event at Olin Park, and what a gorgeous day it was! The sun was shining as Journey staff made their way to join in on the fun, food, and festivities. 

There was a variety of activities happening all around the park. Food carts, Wiscon Rican and Banzo, were brought in and served delicious food to the staff. After the main meal, cookies from Yummee Treats were served and they sure were yummy! While munching away, tunes could be heard by our very own DJ Cisco Lozano, rocking a playlist that was enjoyed by all.

Along with food and music, the staff also participated in cornhole and bingo. Staff could be seen walking around the park, looking for someone who would fit the questions on their bingo card. Who would have known that so many people owned landlines still! Others were off participating in the cornhole tournament, and the competition was tough. Staff paired up and went head-to-head, tossing beanbags every which way. In the end, it was a close match, but staff members Quinton Wedig and Eric Shelton came in first place, each winning Food Fight gift cards.  

All and all, great moments were shared amongst the staff, and everyone walked away with a greater sense of belonging, making memories and building connections with peers old and new to Journey.

Terry Murphy (left) and Emanuel Sanchez (right)

Kathy Nelson (left) and Laura Taylor (right) 


"Journey's Summer Bash was a great success filled with good food, music, and competitive-friendly activities that created a real sense of comradery among all those that participated."

- Tonya Geasland, Journey Benefits Administrator


Becky Eberhardt (left) and Armando Hernández (right) 

From left to right: Renee Sutkay, Nichole Wright, and Jim Pearson

Quinton Wedig (left) and Eric Shelton (right)

DJ Cisco Lozano



Learn about 988 

By Becky Eberhardt, Journey's Information Management Specialist,
& Tanya Lettman Shue, Journey's President and CEO

In 2020, Congress designated 988 as the number for individuals in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis support. The nationwide roll out of 988 began on July 16, 2022. People experiencing a mental health crisis can call, text, or chat 988 and be connected directly to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a national network of more than 200 crisis centers providing 24/7, confidential support. 988 anticipates that they will be able to successfully resolve most calls received to the caller's satisfaction. 

Some calls may require a response at the community level. In that circumstance, the 988-call center will contact the county in which the caller resides. Journey Mental Health Center’s (608) 280-2600 line will continue to serve that function for the residents of Dane County. Dane County residents can choose to call either line. However, if an individual wants or needs a community level response from a Journey clinician, it is suggested that they call 608-280-2600. Journey will continue to provide the same valuable crisis follow-up and mobile crisis response our community has come to expect.

Featured Top to Bottom: Becky Eberhardt and Tanya Lettman-Shue


September is Suicide Prevention Month 

By Becky Eberhardt, Journey's Information Management Specialist

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. It is a time for mental health advocates, survivors, and allies to come together and promote suicide prevention. The need for suicide prevention is great. In 2020, 45,979 people died by suicide in the United States. That is 1 death every 11 minutes*.  

Featured above:  Pete Zallar, Journey Clinical Manager of Crisis Stabilization

Journey Mental Health Center is part of the Zero Suicide community collaborative. Zero Suicide is a commitment to suicide prevention in health and behavioral health care systems and involves a specific set of strategies and tools. Pete Zallar, a Crisis Stabilization Manager for Journey Mental Health Center’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU), reports that when they meet with someone in crisis, they complete a Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS). The C-SSRS is a short questionnaire that can be administered quickly to assess suicide risk. Safety response plans are also created for those they meet with. These plans assist the individual with developing coping skills as well as with means restrictions which may include removing firearms or other dangerous items from a person’s home.

Journey’s Crisis Stabilization Team will provide follow-up services that may include case management, medication monitoring, transportation, and connection to long term providers.

Support Services for Survivors of Suicide 

When a person dies by suicide, the local medical examiner will notify Journey’s ESU. Surviving family members are offered the opportunity to talk to someone from ESU. Journey also hosts a Survivors of Suicide (SOS) support group. The group provides support to people who have been affected by a suicide loss.  

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, 988 provides 24/7 connection to confidential support. There is Hope. Just call or text 988 or chat #988Lifeline 




Mental Health First Aid training resumes for Journey’s support staff 

By Riley Hays, Case Manager & Certified Peer Specialist, Forward Solutions CSP 

Featured above : Riley Hays

After taking a pause, Journey’s Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program reopened training to all non-clinical staff this spring. The first training of 2022 kicked off in March and a summer session was held in June over Zoom. At Journey, this training happens two times a year and is required every three years for program support and administrative staff.  

Ashley Tempel, a program support specialist for the Comprehensive Community Services program at Journey’s eastside office, attended the June session. She welcomed the opportunity to learn new skills, like the importance of being calm in crisis situations. “I have had a couple of experiences with consumers during my time here where MHFA would have been very helpful. I was able to navigate these situations to the best of my ability, but after going through the training, I can see how I could have done things differently. Remaining calm is one of my favorite techniques because it sets the tone for a positive interaction,” Tempel said.  



MHFA is an evidence-based training course that teaches participants how to recognize and respond to mental health and substance use challenges. Through an overview of common issues, role playing and group discussions, participants learn how to provide safe, responsible support to those experiencing a mental health crisis or addiction. Participants are taught to apply a simple five-step action plan to offer initial help to anyone in crisis – a Journey consumer, a friend, a relative, or a community member – and connect them to the appropriate supports.  

In recent years, Journey’s MHFA program has faced some challenges, from safety concerns with in-person training to a lack of certified instructors. Prior to the pandemic, the program had around six trainers. Now, there are only two certified MHFA instructors at Journey, one of whom is Nelsie Stern.  

While Stern’s primary role is Program Manager for CBITS (which stands for Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools), she also coordinates and trains MHFA as the program’s interim manager.

“What I want people to know is that mental health [and substance use] concerns are extremely common. When people in our lives are equipped to notice and step in, we are more likely to get the help that we need. And Mental Health First Aid is one of the ways that we as community members can act and support each other. I think that’s the simplest message,” Stern explained. 


This year, the World Health Organization released a report offering current evidence on the state of world mental health. With widespread gaps in care and disruptions to mental health services, evidence-based interventions like MHFA would empower citizens without a clinical background to address growing mental health concerns in their communities. 

Even though the future of the program is uncertain, Sterns hopes to see it exist as the “robust program” that it was in previous years. “We’ll continue offering it to staff and when there’s capacity as an organization that will stabilize through the pandemic, we could build it back up.”  

In the United States, MHFA is managed, operated, and disseminated by the National Council of Mental Wellbeing and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Created in 2001 by two mental health professionals in Australia, MHFA reached global acclaim. It was introduced to the United States in 2008. There are currently more than 2.5 million Mental Health First Aiders and 15,000 instructors in the United States.  

The National Council of Mental Wellbeing and the National Mental Health First Aid USA recently announced a new partnership that would bring MHFA training to county employees across the country. Click here to learn more about this partnership and the community impact of Mental Health First Aid. 


CARES Expansion 

By Sarah Henrickson, Clinical Team Manager-First Responder Liaison 

From left to right: MFD Paramedic Mark Norton, Journey Crisis Workers Grace Falk, and Eric Kinderman.

Grace Falk (left) and Olivia Kostreva (right), Journey Crisis Workers

From left to right: Grace Falk (Crisis Worker), Mark Norton (Paramedic), Eric Kinderman (Crisis Worker), and Paco Bonnin (Paramedic)

The Community Alternative Response Emergency Services or CARES program celebrates its one-year anniversary on September 1, 2022. The CARES program expands the continuum of emergency services by providing an alternative to law enforcement response to community members experiencing a behavioral health crisis. CARES is a partnership between Public Health Madison & Dane County, Madison Fire Department (MFD), and Journey Mental Health Center. 


The CARES Team consists of an MFD Community Paramedic and a Journey Crisis Worker. The team is dispatched by the 911 center to incidences involving a nonviolent behavioral health crisis such as suicidal ideation, confusion, agitation, intoxication, or other concerning behaviors. The team responds in a minivan or MFD SUV with a CARES logo. They are dressed in casual civilian clothing and do not carry any weapons or tools except for radios to communicate with the 911 center, and a medic kit. CARES provides on-site de-escalation, assessment, support, and connection to other resources as needed. The team has the flexibility to transport patients to any safe destination that helps to resolve the crisis, including a shelter, treatment facility, or home address. 


When CARES was initially launched last year, there were 4 team members (2 paramedics and 2 crisis workers). The teams were located at Fire Station 3 on Williamson Street in Madison, and they responded only to calls in the central district for 8 hours Monday through Friday. CARES has since doubled staffing, added a second location at the former Town of Madison Fire Department on Fish Hatchery Road, and now responds to calls anywhere in the city of Madison from 8 am-8 pm Monday through Friday. As of August 23, 2022, CARES has responded to almost 900 calls. 


If you believe a CARES response is needed, please call 911 or non-emergency dispatch and request CARES. This does not guarantee CARES will respond, as they may be on another call, out of service, or the 911 center may decide the call needs a different response. 




Joncast Podcast Raises Funds for Journey

Jon Arias, of the Joncast Podcast, hosted a live podcast event with special guest former UW volleyball player, Dana Rettke. The event took place on Wednesday, May 18 at Me & Julio’s restaurant. The event also raised over $1,200 for Journey Mental Health Center!

Click on the hyperlinks below for highlights of the show.




From Left to Right: Jon Arias, host of the Joncast Podcast, and Kathy Nelson, Journey’s Chief Financial Officer.


Journey’ Chief Clinical Officer Interviewed for InBusiness Magazine

Nichole Wright, Chief Clinical Officer, was recently interviewed by InBusiness Magazine, regarding employee mental health. Click HERE to read the article.


Madison CARES teams prove beneficial in first year of service                              

A new approach to responding to mental health emergencies in the City of Madison is proving beneficial for both patients and first responders.

Click HERE to learn more.



Featured above: Larissa Lederman, administrative assistant


Journey at Mt. Horeb's National Night Out

On July 27th, Journey attended Mt. Horeb's National Night Out. The event helps with community-building and promotes community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. Mt. Horeb's law enforcement, fire department, first responders, and many other organizations came out to help participate in the community event.

To learn more about National Night Out, click HERE.



Upcoming Training

Learn about what Journey has to offer!

Name of Training: Motivational Interviewing (MI) for SUD Treatment – SUD Training Series
Date: Thursday, September 8, 2022 Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm CST
Presenter: Jeanne Louther, MS, LPC, SAC Venue:  Zoom 3.0 CE Hours* NBCC/ (ACEP approved # 6760) Registration: Visit our website to register at    Cost: $75

Description: Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based therapeutic approach. It is a client-centered and conversational method of communication designed to assist helping professionals address clients’ ambivalence to change by strengthening a person’s own motivation and commitment to change. This basic training will teach a practical application of foundational MI concepts and approaches that you can implement immediately. These approaches assist in efficiently and effectively developing rapport, meeting the consumer where they are, and supporting consumers in their move toward behavior change.

Name of Training: The Highly Sensitive Child
Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2022 Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST
Presenter: Kimby Shult Hughes, MS, LMFT Venue:  Zoom 3.0 CE Hours* (ACEP approved # 6760) Registration: Visit our website to register at    Cost: $75

Description: This training is for anybody who wants to learn more about highly sensitive children and may be especially beneficial for mental health practitioners working with or advocating for children, caregivers, or families.  The training is facilitated by a highly sensitive person who has a keen ability to recognize the trait in children and a passion for helping others identify and understand the gifts and challenges of high sensitivity. The training will provide foundational research about sensory processing sensitivity, how to identify it in children, and implications for treatment.  Additionally, we will explore our own assumptions about and relationship with sensitivity. 


Give to What You Care About


Mental Illness is personal and emotional and affects not only individuals, but family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the community in general. Help support us in making sure that we continue to provide services for those in Wisconsin who need us.  Last year, over 12,000 Wisconsinites received services through Journey. Journey provides hope and a path to health, wellness, and recovery. All our programs are designed to encourage consumers to develop their overall well-being and lead meaningful, productive lives. We have been doing all this since 1948 and all of it wouldn’t have been possible without supporters like you.



Journey Mental Health Center
Journey Mental Health Center, Inc. | 25 Kessel Court, Suite 105 |Madison, WI 535711
608-280-2700 | Media Inquiry?
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