The Mental Health Coalition is proud to offer the following events and training opportunities, in order to reach out and involve the community in our mission to help spread the message of hope and eliminate the stigma of mental illness. 



The Shining Star Award

A major goal of the La Crosse Area Mental Health Coalition is to eliminate stigma and to share the stories of those who live the mental health experience. The name and stories are incredible and heroic accounts of survival. They serve to remind us that mental illness can be successfully confronted and that our communities play a large role in offering a supportive environment for all to grow. 

The Shining Star Award is conferred annually and is the Mental Health Coalition's highest and most prestigious honor. Those recognized as recipients are our friends and neighbors and individuals who possess remarkable courage. 

Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training for Law Enforcement

Law officers are on the front line with people in crisis. Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training is a proven five-day, 40-hour program which introduces law officers to the range of mental illnesses, medications, experiences of people living with a mental illness and experiences of their families, local resources, and best practices which increase the safety of the officers as well as of the people they are assisting and of the community.

The primary target audience for CIT includes patrol officers in law enforcement agencies throughout La Crosse County and jailers at the La Crosse County Jail. The long-term goal is to train at least 25% of the officers in each law enforcement agency so that trained officers will be available on every shift to respond to mental health crises.

Communities which have incorporated CIT into their law enforcement agencies have seen:

  • lower risk of injury to officers and others
  • fewer repeat contacts with mental health consumers
  • fewer 72-hour holds dropped due to not meeting required criteria for emergency detention
  • enhanced working relationship with crisis workers
  • reduced manpower and overtime use
  • greater involvement of family and friends of the mental health consumer

Testimony from CIT Graduates

  • “All presenters knew their area of mental health and presented things in a way that made learning this material much easier.”
  • “The site visits opened my eyes as to what’s out there for us to use.”
  • “The role play scenarios were very real, very much like situations we run into a lot of the time.”
  • “This course has taught me that extra time might be needed with certain people. I will pass the good word on to my coworkers about this program.”

Outstanding CIT Officers

Sergeant Mike Valencia
La Crosse County Sheriff's Department
2012 Recipient

Lieutenant Avrie Schott
La Crosse Police Department
2015 Recipient

Robert Wieczorek
La Crosse Police Department
2012 Recipient