From the Publisher

When our team at Coulee Region Women planned out themes a year ago for each issue of 2022, we knew that there would be many different approaches we could take to portray "Overcome." Our community is filled with individuals who have conquered challenges big and small.

But what we may not have anticipated was how our entire community and world would still be looking for a road map to overcoming the continued fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, divisive political environments and economic challenges on top of the standard array of stressors faced in our health, our relationships and our jobs.

We've learned in the last year that our nation's young people are struggling. Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March spelled out the situation in stark numbers. According to the data, in 2021, more than a third (37 percent) of high school students reported they experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, and 44 percent reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year.

Those young people aren't alone in their struggles. The same stressors that increased for adolescents during the pandemic impact adults as well: isolation, anxiety, economic uncertainty, illness and other health problems. We've also seen both high-profile celebrities like Naomi Judd and loved local figures succumb to mental illness and suicide.

Our response, in this issue, is to provide our readers with two different things:

Real, concrete steps you can take to help others, or yourself, address mental illness, depression or anxiety.

Hope, in the stories of individuals who have faced personal tragedy, challenging career paths and more, and come out the other side.

Our cover women, a trio of therapists, say that their patients are brave: they recognize they are struggling and are willing to experience their feelings and be vulnerable. Those patients have taken the first step in overcoming not only their emotional challenges but also the stigma that unfortunately persists in our Midwestern culture, suggesting we should just "suck it up" because someone out there has it worse.

Instead, the women of The Therapy Place in La Crosse want members of our community to know that they can feel better, and they deserve to feel better. It takes all of us to change the societal view of mental health. You can start with the advice offered by Mary Cortesi, Melissa Hellwig and Sheryl Gora-Bollom in our cover story along with school counselor Jen Dienger Hanson's tips for helping young people overcome the challenges that accompany adolescence.

As you read on, you will learn how a yearlong treatment program is helping women overcome addiction, experience the success stories of area women who have pushed forward through personal tragedy and be inspired by women who take on typically male-dominated career paths and bring their own unique talents to the table.

We want you to close this issue not depressed or worried about the challenges we face as individuals or a society, but with a sense of hope and the information you need to keep moving forward. If you or someone you know is struggling, there is hope, and there is help.

Let's all work together to make that hope reality.

Betty Christiansen



Download past issues here …

What is inside this month's issue:

Overcoming the Stigma of Mental Health
Local therapists share how to approach depression and suicide with empathy and hope.

Take Life & Live It
Amanda Mish focuses on faith in the future to move past personal tragedy.

Motivation Matters
Esther Tierney encourages women and girls to set their sights on STEM careers.

Movement Builds More Than Muscles
Briana Harris and KIDSPACE help children overcome sensory and developmental challenges.

A Home Worth the Wait
With patient planning, the Lassen family creates a dream home worthy of the 2021 Parade of Homes People's Choice Award.

Top Tips for Tomatoes
How to make the most of the abundance in your garden and local markets.

Harnessing the Power of Workers
Trailblazer Jana Kirch is the eyes, ears and voice for her union members.

Helping Kids Overcome Stress & Anxiety
Holmen Middle School counselor Jen Dienger Hanson offers students unconditional positive regard.

A Place for Recovery
Women find freedom from addiction at Adult & Teen Challenge of Western Wisconsin.

The New Business Casual Here's what to wear back to the office.


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