Ascension St. Michael’s Mental Health Unit Recognized With Providing Hope Award

Photo ID: Front Row (left to right): Jennifer Hernandez, RN Stephanie Weber, RN.  Back Row: Jenni Yang, RN; Michelle Nelson,MSW; Terri Baptist, RN; Laurie Knapp-Roberts RN; Umesh Vyas, MD; Michelle Zimmerman, RN; Kristina Wattier, MD.

The Ascension St. Michael’s Hospital Mental Health Unit is the 2020 recipient of the Providing Hope Award from the Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness Coalition of Portage County. 

The Providing Hope Award is awarded annually to individuals or agencies that provide hope to the community for people who struggle with mental health issues. The Award was presented on September 2nd and celebrated at the Walk For Hope event in Stevens Point on September 12 which was held virtually this year.  
“The Ascension St. Michael’s Mental Health Unit supports patients by showing compassion and educating those who are newly diagnosed or have had life long mental health struggles,” said Laurie Knapp-Roberts, RN, Manager of Behavioral Health Services at Ascension St. Michael’s.    “They offer comfort and safety by truly listening and letting them know they are not alone.” 
Education provided by the Mental Health Unit includes information on diagnosis, coping strategies, healthy relationships and lifestyles, and how to live a full life with mental health struggles.
“All of the staff also provide patient advocacy to ensure a supportive environment and patient rights,” adds Roberts. “They also directly support the work of the Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness Coalition by always lending a hand in the behind the scenes work for various events and projects.”
Roberts adds that much of the credit for this award goes to Michelle Nelson, the Ascension St. Michael’s Mental Health Unit Social Worker who has served as the Coalition Chair for the past 13 years. 
“Michelle works tirelessly to reduce the stigma of mental illness, prevent suicide and educate community members about mental health and resources available in Portage County,” said Knapp-Roberts. 
If you or someone you know needs support today, the following resources are are available:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255   (Veterans - Press 1)
  • Portage County Hotline: 866-317-9362
  • Textline: Text “HOPELINE” to 741741
  • Mental Health Navigation: 715-343-7104 (free and confidential service to all residents of Portage county in need of assistance with accessing mental health and community resources.)
For more information on the Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness Coalition of Portage County, please call 715-346-5401.

About Ascension Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, Ascension operates 24 hospital campuses, more than 100 related healthcare facilities and employs more than 1,300 primary and specialty care clinicians from Racine to Eagle River. Serving Wisconsin since 1848, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., operating 2,600 sites of care – including 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Visit