Apply today! Application deadline for 2021 scholarships is May 31, 2021!
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio –
The Washington County Behavioral Health Board is thrilled to announce that we are offering (3) individual academic scholarships for $2,500.00 per award.
The Washington County Behavioral Health Board supports local workforce development in the area of behavioral health, including the fields of social work and counseling. The Behavioral Health Matters scholarship provides support to students who are pursuing an associate, bachelors, or master’s degree in the behavioral health field.
Applications for the scholarship will be made available from April 1st through May 31st, 2021.
Application Criteria for the scholarship includes:
- One letter of recommendation
- Proof of enrollment to an accredited education institution
- One-page essay about educational and career goals
- Must be a resident of Washington County
- Must be pursuing an associates, bachelors, or master’s degree in behavioral health
Preference will be given to applicants pursuing their educational goals at a local Washington County Educational Institution.
For access to the application, please visit www.wcbhb.org/behavioral-health-matters-scholarship/
To apply, submit all application criteria to [email protected] by May 31, 2021. Award notifications will be made in June, 2021.
We look forward to receiving applications and providing this opportunity to those interested in the field of behavioral health.
For questions, call the Board staff at 740-374-6990.Learn More
This article was featured in the Marietta Times on April 3rd, 2021, written in collaboration with the Marietta/Belpre Health Department & the Washington County Health Department.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio –
Public health week is celebrated April 5th through April 11th, 2021
In the midst of the most challenging public health crisis of our lifetimes, it’s more important than ever to celebrate public health. Saturday April 10th of public health week is dedicated to uplifting mental health and wellness. We want this article to celebrate the partnership between the Marietta/Belpre Health Department, the Washington County Health Department, and the Washington County Behavioral Health Board.
Mental health is a critical component of public health
Strong mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental health refers to the presence of positive characteristics.
People who are mentally healthy have:
- A sense of contentment.
- A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
- The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
- A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
- The flexibility to learn new skills and adapt to change.
- A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
- The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
- Self-confidence and high self-esteem.
In the United States, mental illness is one of the most common health conditions. In a year, one in five Americans will experience mental illness. Approximately 50% percent of mental illness begins by the age of 14, and 75% begins by the age of 24. Certain childhood risk factors, including growing up in poverty or experiencing abuse, can be an indicator for mental illness later in life.
The relationship between resilience and mental health
Having solid mental health doesn’t mean that you never go through bad times or experience emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress. But just as physically healthy people are better able to bounce back from illness or injury, people with strong mental health are better able to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience.
People who are emotionally and mentally resilient have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and productive, in bad times as well as good. Their resilience also makes them less afraid of new experiences or an uncertain future. Even when they don’t immediately know how a problem will get resolved, they are hopeful that a solution will eventually be found.
Advocacy for mental health is crucial, especially in the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic can affect mental health in many ways, including through loss of a loved one, isolation due to physical distancing mandates, exposure to the virus and loss of income. Practicing strategies like being physically active, getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, eating a well-balanced diet, practicing gratitude, participating in activities you enjoy, developing coping skills, meditating and connecting with others can improve mental health.
Reach out if you need help
If you, or someone you know, is in need of mental health and/or addiction services, please contact one of our local service providers below:
- Life and Purpose Behavioral Health (Marietta, Belpre, & Beverly, OH): 740-376-0930
- Walk-In Hours Monday through Friday 8AM-1PM
- Rigel Recovery Services (Reno, OH): 740-371-5160
- Hopewell Health Center (Belpre, OH): 740-423-8095
- Call Mondays & Wednesdays between 8AM-11AM for available Walk-In Hours
- Integrated Services for Behavioral Health (Marietta, OH): 1-800-321-8293
For immediate assistance, please contact one of the crisis lines below:
- Crisis Text Line: text “4Hope” to 741741
- 24-Hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
For more information, resources, and services concerning Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health, please visit our website, wcbhb.org and check out the Recovery is Beautiful Facebook page.Learn More
Community Mental Health Panel at the Appalachian Ohio Mental Health & Housing Conference on October 7, 2019 that Executive Director, David Browne attended.
Ohio – Of the many difficult stories about mental health issues that
emerged at Monday’s Appalachian Ohio Mental Health & Housing
Conference, Robin Harris’ description of a traumatized Purple Heart
winner hit the hardest.
Harris, executive director of Gallia, Jackson & Meigs Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board, described a young Iraq war Marine veteran who was hit with enemy gunfire during his service in Fallujah, Irag, The ambush severely injured him and killed his best friend. He returned home to Meigs County with a Purple Heart, a military award given to those injured in battle, and wartime trauma buried deep in his soul.
Harris said the young man couldn’t get the long-treatment he needed for trauma, was in and out of rehabilitation for addiction to painkillers, and eventually turned to crime and ended up in prison.
“His mother told me, “I watched my son go off the prison with his Purple Heart sitting on my mantle,’” Harris said.
The failure of the system to treat the young man “is a picture of where we are today with our mental health system and veterans. It breaks my heart,” Harris said.
There were other troubling stories: a young person with mental illness who waited in emergency room care for a week before getting treatment; people driving hours to get mental health care because of closed rural hospitals; a critical lack of housing for people in recovery, and waves of suicides rippling across Appalachian Ohio.
But there were positive signs, too, including $37 million from Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration for mental health crisis services, expanded specialty court dockets, greater cooperation between state and local agencies, a proposed new mental health crisis center in southern Ohio, more housing opportunities, and the first statewide suicide prevention plan.
The conference sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio, Ohio University and the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation attracted 200 people, many of them mental health professionals, for discussions on mental health treatment, housing, transportation and related issues.
A keynote speaker was Douglas O’Brien, regional Midwest director for the U.S Department of Health & Human Services. He said the federal government is not typically good at long-range planning, instead focusing on budget-to-budget funding. In the meantime, he said, “Rural America is facing a crossroads, most importantly in health care.”
O’Brien said federal officials are working to make a better connection between physical health and mental health care.
Former Gov. Ted Strickland, moderator of two panel discussions at the event, and a former prison psychologist, said locking up people with mental illness is not a viable solution because mental health treatment is scarce behind bars. “Prisons are an unforgiving environment for anyone, but especially for anyone with mental illness.
“Not every dysfunctional, angry person has a mental illness and that’s something that needs to be stressed continually,” Strickland said.
Robin Harris was one of six county mental health board directors on a panel discussion of the progress and problems of mental health treatment at the local level.
While all agreed more money is necessary, David Browne of the Washington County Behavioral Health Board asked for financial incentives to lure more mental health service providers to underserved rural southern Ohio. Otherwise, waits of multiple weeks for what should be emergency services will continue, he said.
“When a person makes a call for help they need to get it today,” Browne said. “We need to get help today. We don’t need it in five years.”
All the directors bemoaned the fact that people seeking crisis mental health treatment in hospitals may wait 48 to 72 hours before a bed can be found. For children, it can be even longer. Brown said one child had to stay in the hospital emergency for a week before being placed.
Sue Shultz of the Adams, Lawrence and Scioto Counties Board said services are scarce in rural areas due to a lack of hospitals. “People drive an hour to an hour and a half from Adams County to get services,” she said. Often transportation is a problem.
An afternoon panel focused on community health and housing. Dr. Tiffany Inglis, director of Medical Operations for Anthem, said the health care organization has recognized that housing is critical to building bridges to community mental health. “Mental health is not a short-term fix,” she said.
Anthem provided $200,000 to help fund the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center, a 16-bed crisis stabilization and hospital step-down treatment facility in Athens. NAMI Ohio spearheaded the effort to establish the facility, the first of its kind in the state.
The state has provided $118 million for overall housing programs through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Housing specialist Sally Luken, who works with NAMI Ohio, said many irons in the fire for housing for people in mental health treatment, including renovated and new-build apartments, large and small housing projects, financial incentives to landlords, and help with access to utilities.
Tony Coder, director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, stressed the need for suicide education and prevention programs. He said Ohio is developing a suicide prevention plan, but is the last state to do so. Appalachian Ohio is hard hit by suicide, with nine of the top 10 counties with the highest suicide rates per 100,000 population. Meigs County topped the list at 21.5 per 100,000, followed by Jackson at 19.9 and Hocking County at 19.7.
“If you’re having thoughts of suicide, reach out to somebody,” Coder said. “Suicide cannot be discussed in private and it cannot be ignored.”
Fulltime licensed therapists and case workers to be placed in schools
Fort Frye Local Schools will see a five-fold increase of mental health, therapeutic and case worker services for its students in the coming year.
A new contract with Life and Purpose Services approved by the Board of Education Monday will result in the placement of two fulltime licensed professional therapists and three fulltime therapeutic behavior support specialists – more commonly called case workers – in schools.
The increase in resources for children and their families in need of help was made possible by a grant from the state under a special appropriation initiated by Gov. Mike DeWine in the 2019-20 state budget, Superintendent Stephanie Starcher said.
“I am so excited about this,” Starcher said. “Sometimes we’re quick to criticize the General Assembly or the governor, but this is something they got right. They listened to the public and the community, who were saying that kids have so many issues that impact their ability to learn.”
Teachers in recent years have been overwhelmed by behavioral and psychological difficulties their students exhibit, some of which are attributed to difficulties at home caused by the opioid crisis. Fort Frye last year contracted with L&P to place one full-time therapist in schools, but she was quickly booked to capacity.
“She didn’t have enough room on the schedule, and we knew we needed a second therapist,” Starcher said.
The services, which include two therapists and three case workers who will have offices in the schools, will cost the district $162,000. Students or family who are referred to ongoing therapy outside school with L&P will be billed through insurance, Medicaid or private pay.View Full Article Learn More
The level of need among the students and their families in Washington County could be measured by the number of agencies offering help to the school districts trying to respond to it.
The services, which include two therapists and three case workers who will have offices in the schools, will cost the district $162,000. Students or family who are referred to ongoing therapy outside school with L&P will be billed through insurance, Medicaid or private pay.
More than a dozen teachers and administrators from Marietta City Schools met Monday morning to hear presentations from nine locally-based groups with services ranging from financial assistance to families and help for domestic violence victims to mental health aid and substance abuse treatment, in an event titled Every Child Needs a Hero.
Jessica Dearth, shelter director for EVE, Inc., said the domestic violence nonprofit offers in-class programs and outreach assistance that can be combined with school events such as ice cream socials and family days.
“We have drug and alcohol prevention programs, Too Good for Drugs, and domestic violence programs, Too Good for Violence, curriculums for all grades,” she said. “Domestic violence is a tough subject, people are in fear that they’ll have their children taken away … everyone, especially in this area, is afraid of airing their dirty laundry, they have the attitude of what goes on at home stays at home. Call us if you need help.”
Hilles Hughes, deputy director of the Washington County Behavioral Health Board, said the number of behavioral health providers in the county has grown from one to four – Life and Purpose Services, Hopewell Health, Rigel Recovery Services and Oriana House. A fifth – Integrated Services for Behavioral Health – will soon be established as well.View Full Article Learn More
With an opening date set for Monday, community-based women’s recovery from addiction has a new home in Washington County.
Sunday through Tuesday night three forums were hosted in Parkersburg, Belpre and Marietta inviting diverse groups to the table to discuss addiction, its causes, impact and potential solutions.
On Ohio 676 just outside of Marietta city limits sits the former Hannah’s House, a women’s respite care facility, now to be utilized by Land of Goshen Treatment Center, Inc. which has Medicaid-paid treatment facilities in Ironton and Malta.
The facility used to house 15 women under Hannah’s House, according to Connie Strahler, a former employee who toured the building Friday.
“They’ve painted a lot, and the security cameras are new,” noted Strahler as she toured the renovated bedrooms and counseling rooms last week.
Now, the Marietta treatment center will continue the faith-based residential treatment program built through Land of Goshen locally, beginning with clients post-detox.View Full Article Learn More