NAMI Ohio, the state’s voice for mental illness, thanks the Governor and members of the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate for approving a biennium budget that will significantly impact both adults and children living with mental illness.  We are especially appreciative to the Governor for including significant funding for student wellness and success.

The current mental health system for children is certainly not equipped to treat many of the children needing care. We appreciate the insight that if we are going to treat children with mental illness, we must involve the school systems. In addition to mental health counseling, other programs such as mentoring, wraparound services, and after school programming will now be available to children with the highest level of need.

Although NAMI Ohio has advocated for years that we must address the needs for kids, this is the first time our pleas have been heard. Another important element of this budget is the funding for k-12 prevention education initiatives. This funding will allow schools to purchase prevention curriculum and provide quality prevention services.

Suicide is an epidemic in this state and all over the country. By reducing stigma and educating anyone in contact with youth on how to recognize signs of suicide and intervene, we will save lives.

For so many years, the 500,000 citizens of this state who lives have been invaded by mental illness have felt ignored and alone. Today, the state government recognized that we can provide services that will enable so many people to achieve the American dream.

Thank you!

Terry L. Russell

For additional information and a more detailed response: Biennium Budget