We have two people on staff at all times to take calls from anybody in the community…we work very closely with our health care partners…

Sam Seefeld

Crisis Program Supervisor, La Crosse County Human Services

Today we have an nontraditional chat for us but we feel it’s important to share, we talked with La Crosse County’s Crisis Program Supervisor, Sam Seefeld. We talk about mental health services, how to get help, mental health and covid and what is coming up for this department. You can talk to a mental health professional 24/7/365 at 784-HELP (4357).


Amy Gabay 00:05
Today we have an untraditional chat for us, but we feel it’s important to share. We talked with the La Crosse County Crisis Program Supervisor. Sam Seefeld. We talk about mental health services, how to get help with mental health and COVID, and what is coming up to this department. You can talk to a mental health professional 24/7, 365 at 784-HELP, that’s 784-4357. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy.

Brent Hanifl 00:37
And I’m Brent.

Amy Gabay 00:38
And this is La Crosse Local.

Sam Seefold 00:41
My name is Sam Seefeld. And I was born in Baraboo, Wisconsin, which is just north of Madison. And what led me to this role is it’s been quite an interesting process. For me at least. The real generic answer, I guess is really, it was one of the few classes in college where I enjoyed it. So that’s kind of what took me down this initial pathway to mental health. But even before that it was time spent overseas in the military really seeing the differences of individuals and how people are able to cope with difficult situations or not cope with them. That really propelled me even further down this path.

Brent Hanifl 01:20
Traditionally, I guess you know, this is kind of an untraditional chat. But you know, it’s definitely interwoven with, we interview a lot of artists and musicians. Midwest Music Fest, for example, also has a lot of mental health components to it. As the program supervisor for the La Crosse County Crisis Department, or Integrated Support and Recovery Services in the name correct?

Sam Seefold 01:42
Integrated Support Recovery Services houses the crisis program.

Brent Hanifl 01:45
Okay. So can you explain that a little bit like what it is, what services you provide?

Sam Seefold 01:50
Sure, well, a real overarching piece for Integrated Support Recovery Services is the behavioral health component here at Human Services. And that houses our Crisis Program, our outpatient clinic and our comprehensive community services. So we’re a really large component of Human Services here in La Crosse County. The Crisis Program in itself is a 365 day 24/7 program. We have two people on staff at all times to take calls from anybody in the community. We work with anybody that is in the geographical location of La Crosse County itself, meaning if they are driving through and they have a mental health emergency, we are the ones that come out and try to help and assist in that situation. We work very closely with our healthcare partners in the community law enforcement schools. Really anybody at any point in time we go to people’s homes, we go to the side of the road with law enforcement if needed.

Brent Hanifl 02:48
I know it’s a difficult conversation to have, you know, I have family in mental health services as well. Maybe taking that first step, but it’s pretty much it’s eligible to anyone, correct?

Sam Seefold 02:59
Any single person is able to give us a call. There are of course, some financial pieces to it all. That is something we can definitely work out with people and help them figure out we generally try to bill insurance companies if we can. If we are unable to, we do work on a sliding scale fee that is extremely forgiving that set forth by the state, not something we’re in control of.

Brent Hanifl 03:23
COVID, the last 18 months, two years, whatever it’s been, seems like forever. You know, I’m sure the county has even more, responded to more challenges relating to mental health. What has been your adaptation over the last couple years with that?

Sam Seefold 03:36
COVID has really significantly changed the way we’ve done some practice. Initial early on initially, we kind of did less in person response that has subsided and we do everything that we can face to face. But the crisis program has been utilized in a variety of ways. For a brief period La Crosse County was helping assist with COVID positive individuals that were homeless and helping the hotels. That was really the crisis program contributing man hours and staff to help facilitate some of that process. We’ve also seen increases in just our call volume has steadily increased over the last two years as well, too.

Brent Hanifl 04:20
Kind of looking, you know on media, La Crosse base, if you’re advertising a lot with this. People can call 24/7, 365 days a year. Numbers call 784-HELP or 784-4357. You know, I haven’t noticed it before but it has this influx of advertising and things like that, been directly associated with COVID or uptick in help or resources or?

Sam Seefold 04:44
The advertising was a piece, it was an opportunity from a state grant that we were able to apply for and got awarded. And we thought given everything that is going on in this world, making sure people know that there are resources in the community that can help people is a wonderful thing. An opportunity that we just couldn’t pass up on.

Brent Hanifl 05:03
So what are you excited for the next year or two related to mental health, the county area?

Sam Seefold 05:08
Absolutely one of the wonderful things that we’ve just started in this last year is our CO response with law enforcement where we have a crisis responder embedded with law enforcement riding around in the car with them in the evening hours. And that’s been tremendously positive, where we’ve been able to connect people with the right resources at the right time. And we’re also helping law enforcement to maybe refocus and relook at the interaction with the mental health population. We can divert from jails, or we can get services connected that were otherwise missing from people. And that’s just something that’s really looking forward to over the next year and see where that takes us. But that’s been an incredibly positive last six months that we’ve started that and it’s just I think it’s going to continue to grow and be a wonderful partnership with the City of La Crosse Police.

Brent Hanifl 05:57
If people want to find out more, where should they head to?

Sam Seefold 06:01
They can certainly give us a call that 784-HELP, 4357. Otherwise, we do have a human services Facebook page that has some information regarding all the variety of services we offer. Those are probably the two best or even just coming to the county building and asking about services.

Brent Hanifl 06:18
So do you have any sort of, you know, I guess personal advice about someone who’s been thinking about calling a number or thinking about getting help? I think an issue with mental health is always like that first step. Or just that initial realization that you know, a lot of people, if your family members, you know, your friends probably have dealt with these issues one time or another. Is there anything like words of encouragement that you have for people to kind of reach out?

Sam Seefold 06:42
That first step is always the hardest. We always talk about this as non judgmental, supportive. We’re here to help, that first step is always always the hardest. Once a person can do that, there’s room for growth. We really focus on installation of hope because when a person loses that hope for something moving forward, that’s when things start spiraling down. Whether they want to take that first step, they need some help making that first step. Call with somebody, make a call for somebody. There’s always that hope out there.

Amy Gabay 07:19
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse Local. Find out more about us at lacrosselocal.com and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.


About La Crosse Local

La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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