For the next five years, Children’s Wisconsin will have enough resources to train at least five therapists a year thanks to a $1 million donation from The Boldt Company.

The donation will also help Children’s Wisconsin as part of a broader effort to address a shortage of therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists in the state, Amy Herbst, the organization’s vice president of mental and behavioral health, told the Appleton Post-Crescent.

“Our focus is unique to kids and families,” she said. “Kids need different kinds of care than adults do.” Wisconsin requires therapists to get 3,000 hours in the field after they graduate before they’re able to be licensed and reimbursed by insurance. Many take full-time jobs in another field and volunteer their spare time to get those hours, Herbst said.

That can take years and some don’t finish at all. By providing a salary and benefits, Children’s hopes their therapists-in-training will be able to finish the 3,000-hour requirement in about a year and a half.

Despite this effort, Herbst said the hospital will still likely face a therapist shortage, but it’s not a bad thing, she said. More families are recognizing the need for mental health care in a way that’s similar to physical health care, Herbst said.“When that happens, people seek the services in a way they haven’t in the past.”

Read more about mental health efforts in Milwaukee here.