Vilas County Public Health - Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA)

As a result of our Community Needs Assessment, Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse were identified as health focus areas in our community. For more infromation on the Community Health Improvement Process, visit:

Mental Health

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is important to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently. 

2018 May is Mental Health Month - Fact Sheets

Tips and Tools:

Learn more about mental health illness here:

In order to learn more about or host a suicide prevention training called Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR), a suicide prevention program, contact Tammi Boers, Community Health Coordinator, Vilas County Public Health at 715-479-3757.  QPR is designed to increase the awareness about suicide and the warning signs.

Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA)

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, illicit drugs, and tobacco affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans.

The misuse of prescription drugs is second only to marijuana as the nation’s most common drug problem after alcohol and tobacco, leading to troubling increases in opioid overdoses in the past decade. While tobacco use has declined since 2002 for the general population, this has not been the case for people with serious mental illness where tobacco use remains a major cause of morbidity and early death.  For more information, visit:

Treatment Resources:

Severe Bleeding Caused by Using Synthetic Cannabinoids

Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana have received over 100 cases of people bleeding and five deaths after taking synthetic cannabinoids (K2, Spice, Fake Weed ect.). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently looking into other outbreaks across the nation. 

What are Synthetic Cannabinoids?

Synthetic Cannabinoids are different chemicals that are sprayed on dried or solid liquids that are inhaled.  They are sold under many different brand names, but are commonly referred to as synthetic marijuana, fake weed, legal weed, K2, and Spice.

Using synthetic cannabinoids cause agitation, confusion, hallucinations, delusions, fast breathing, fast heart rate, and gastrointestinal problems.  They are harmful and may cause severe bleeding or death. 

What Can You Do?

  1. Do not use them and tell others not to use them!
  2. If you have used them and are bleeding or have unexplained bruising, call 911!
  3. If you have used them and are not bleeding go to the doctor anyway as you could still bleed.

For More Information:


Due to the shortage of resources in our area for these focus areas, the Vilas County Health Department is an active partner in several coalitions, which are designed to address these needs.

Northwoods Community Outreach Prevention Education  (COPE) Coalition

The mission of the MHIAC is to improve the access of services for the mental health needs of Oneida, Vilas and Forest County's people by increasing awareness, decreasing stigma, and supporting the development of a collaborative system of care through public information and community involvement.

Vilas County Youth Coalition

The Vilas County Youth Coalition's mission is to strengthen and support youth by providing intergenerational partnerships, positive opportunities, various community activities, and by encouraging respect, individuality and active healthy citizenship. This coalition also sponsors the All County Youth Conference for 6th Graders.

Northwoods Coalition North Region

The Northwoods Coalition is a statewide network, managed by the Marshfield Clinic Center For Community Outreach, representing community prevention coalitions in 40 counties and 11 Tribal Nations in Wisconsin. Recently, Marshfield Clinic Minocqua Center created a new initiative, the Lakeland Area Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, aimed at addressing the issue in our region.

Prescription Drug Information:

The American Medicine Chest Challenge - provides a unified national, statewide, and local focus on medicine abuse by children and teens. One of the goals of the program is to challenge all Americans to take the 5 Step American Medicine Chest Challenge:

  1. Take inventory of your prescription and over-the-counter medicine.
  2. Secure your medicine chest.
  3. Dispose of your unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in your home or at an American Medicine Chest Challenge Disposal site.
  4. Take your medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.
  5. Talk to your children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse... they are listening.

This initiative is provided without cost to any community, government, or law enforcement agency in the country. The Eagle River Police Department (715-479-1941) or the Lac Du Flambeau Police Department (715-588-7717) will take your unused prescription medication and dispose of them in a safe manner. Please call them for further information.