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MADISON — UpliftWI, a new phone line offering peer support, is available for all Wisconsinites, announced by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on July 31.

The service was built by Mental Health America of Wisconsin.

UpliftWI can be reached at 534-202-5438 daily from noon to midnight, with 24/7 operation expected by the end of the year.

This non-emergency service is free and confidential. Callers are not required to provide their name, address, or other identifying information. 

“We’re pleased to partner with Mental Health America of Wisconsin on this expansion of peer services in Wisconsin,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge. “The peer-to-peer support offered by UpliftWI is a proven way to help people get the help they need and stay healthy. This service is going to improve lives by providing preventive care for people experiencing stress or other challenges in their lives.”

Certified peer specialists run program

Those who utilize UpliftWI will speak to certified peer specialists with diverse life experiences stationed across the state.

This can be used for people experiencing mental health and substance use concerns.

According to DHS, a certified peer specialist is a person who has navigated their own mental health and substance use challenges, completed a training course, and passed a state exam that tests their skills and knowledge about how to support others.

These individuals use their personal experiences to help callers identify and pursue their own wellness goals and will share information about community resources if requested.

“The goal of UpliftWI is to help callers feel connected, understood, and less isolated in an effort to prevent mental health and substance use crises,” said Mental Health America of Wisconsin Chief Operating Officer Brian Michel, the leader of the team responsible for the service. “We all have times of challenge. UpliftWI is a safe place to share those challenges with a supportive voice who will listen in confidence without judgement or criticism.” 

Funding for UpliftWI

UpliftWI is funded by a $600,000 annual grant awarded to Mental Health America of Wisconsin in 2022.

The grant comes from Wisconsin’s share of funding allocated to mental health and substance use services from the American Rescue Plan Act and will be available through 2025.

Additional programs

UpliftWI adds to Wisconsin’s growing network of peer services that now includes statewide options for support by phone, drop-in and overnight stays.

Drop-in support is available at one of 11 state-funded peer recovery centers.

Eight of those centers focus on mental health support and three focus on substance use support.

Overnight stays are available at one of the six state-funded peer-run respites. People need to call ahead to arrange a respite stay of up to one week.

People experiencing mental health and substance emergencies should call, text, or chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

If the emergency is life-threatening, call 911.


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