Alumni Profile: Sheng Lee Yang, MSW ’14

A Journey from Hmong Refugee to Behavioral Health Clinic Founder 

Sheng Lee Yang’s journey is impressive. A first-generation Hmong refugee who was resettled in Wisconsin as a young person, she became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, social work faculty member, and clinic founder – a testament to her ability to overcome many challenges while working hard to create a positive impact in her community. 

Sheng Lee Yang

Following several years of direct practice while teaching social work at UW-Green Bay, Sheng saw the limited mental health services available to individuals of color and those with low incomes in the Appleton, WI area. In 2019, together with her husband, she founded Us 2 Behavioral Health Care, a rapidly growing non-profit dedicated to “integrating social justice and cultural humility into behavioral health.”  As Sheng explains, “we don’t just look at treatment and diagnosis, we look at how we can treat patients by understanding that cultural background is a strong component in how communities approach mental health and the stigmas around it…(and) we provide access to anyone who walks through our doors and provide mental health counseling, understand our client’s background, struggles, challenges and acknowledge and address social causes of radicalized trauma and how it shows up in behavioral health.” 

With more than 15 professional staff, U 2 Behavioral Health provides a wide range of direct services, consultation, and training. One strength is their work with children and youth. They currently contract with school systems in Appleton and Neenah to provide school-based mental health services.   

Drawing on her own experience as a social work student and educator, Us 2 Behavioral Health Care also provides field placement opportunities for students pursuing their mental health credentials. Finally, in addition to her clinical work, Sheng is the Chairperson of the Board of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Social Work Section of Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling and Social Work Examining Board. Appointed by the governor, the board “represent groups that promote the interests of consumers of services provided by persons who are certified or licensed under Wis. Stat. ch. 457.”