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NewsNow - 01.06.2023

Jan. 6, 2023

>>> Governor Signs Bill Authorizing $175M to Strengthen Ohio’s BH Workforce, Expand Crisis Services

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today signed House Bill 45 into law. Sponsored by State Rep. Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) and former Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton), the bill includes an $85 million investment to grow Ohio’s behavioral health workforce by making education more attainable and affordable for students committed to behavioral health careers and $90 million in one-time funding to support the needed expansion of behavioral health crisis infrastructure.

On the workforce issue, the Departments of Medicaid, Higher Education, and Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) have joined forces in collaboration with the Governor’s RecoveryOhio initiative on a multi-pronged approach to boost the number of qualified graduates who are trained and ready to enter the behavioral healthcare workforce in the next one to two years and who are committed to serving in Ohio communities across the state. The immediate focus is on growing high quality training and academic programs in Ohio’s two- and four-year colleges and universities that can deliver trained professionals to fill the unmet need for behavioral health services in home and community-based settings (HCBS). This effort will help provide an immediate infusion of talent to stabilize our workforce while growing and sustaining the future pipeline. Although the bill was just signed today, the agencies are already planning and preparing to take the next step on this exciting opportunity in collaboration with our college and university partners. The departments are working diligently on guidance and FAQ documents, application details, and other materials necessary to begin the process of awarding funds so you can put the dollars to work in your communities. 

More information and details about both investments will be available soon.

OhioMHAS Director Lori Criss expressed her gratitude for the Governor’s leadership and General Assembly’s support for the significant infusion of resources into Ohio’s behavioral health care system:

On the $85M Workforce Investment –

“Governor DeWine has made it a priority to expand access to care for Ohioans affected by mental illness and substance use disorders. One of the major hurdles to expanding access to care has been the shortage of licensed mental health care and addiction providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, therapists, counselors, social workers, and peers. This substantial investment will help add thousands of compassionate, skilled professionals to our workforce in the next few years, and it plays an important part in our overall strategy to grow a diverse workforce focused on delivering high quality prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services for all Ohioans.”

On the $90M Crisis Services Investment –

“Too often emergency departments and jails are the access point for care for someone in a behavioral health crisis, and Governor DeWine has been working hard to change this in Ohio by building a coordinated crisis care system, visible and accessible for every Ohioan in need. I am grateful for Governor DeWine’s and the General Assembly’s commitment to end the personal suffering and community impact of untreated mental illness and addiction. This funding will help communities connect Ohioans with person-centered, quality care in settings designed to effectively meet their immediate needs and support their long-term recovery.”

Click HERE for a list of statements from stakeholders supporting H.B. 45 being signed into law.

>>> Gov. DeWine Signs Mental Health and Disability Terminology Act

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 281, known as the Mental Health and Disability Terminology Act, into law. Sponsored by State Reps. Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) and Tom Young (R-Washington Township), H.B. 281 represents a major step in reducing institutionalized stigma about people with a serious mental illness and other disabilities. Specifically, the bill eliminates and modifies terminology in the Ohio Revised Code that many find offensive and out of date, and replaces various words associated with people with disabilities with more contemporary alternatives.

>>> 38th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Commemorative Celebration – Jan. 12

The 38th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration will be held Jan. 12 at noon at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Columbus. Three individuals and five organizations will be recognized for their efforts to advance nonviolent social change along with student speakers from the 2022 Statewide MLK Oratorial Contest. The ceremony will be livestreamed and rebroadcast courtesy of The Ohio Channel. Learn more at das.ohio.gov/MLK.

>>> Study Shows Alcohol-Involved Suicide Deaths Increased More Among Women Compared to Men

Suicide deaths involving heavy alcohol use have increased significantly among women in recent years, according to a new study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Previous research has shown that alcohol is a risk factor for suicidal behavior and that women have a higher risk than men do for suicide while intoxicated.

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