Helpline: 1-800-686-2646 or text NAMI to 741741 1225 Dublin Road, Suite 210, Columbus OH 43215
Mental Illness in the News

Mental Illness in the News

The Columbus Dispatch, November 4, 2021

Death at Gahanna mental health facility raises questions about owners, state oversight

Read the article on The Columbus Dispatch website or download here 

What a tragic story. The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio (NAMI Ohio), represents those living with mental illness and their families. All too often, we are made aware of tragedies caused by this mean illness.

We honor those who try their best to help us through the darkness. But we also know, families provide most of the caregiving to their loved ones.

When needing help, it is often a lonely journey and can be very difficult to navigate through the maze of the mental health system.

When reading a story like this, we believe it is about more than the failure that led to this loss, it also highlights the need that is not available to so many with mental health issues needing help now.

A Cincinnati family sending someone to central Ohio should not have to happen. The family must be part of the treatment and treatment must be available in the local community so that the family can participate on behalf of their loved one.

Unfortunately, the state of the current mental health system (again well-intentioned) can make it difficult for families to find available services.

We must look at the situation identified in this article, and many similar tragedies, and use it as a catalyst to make change in the mental health system.

We applaud the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services for their current work on developing crisis services that should be available throughout the state in the next few years. When a person is in crisis, as was Susan, the family must have an immediate place to go to receive help and direction.

NAMI Ohio wants to emphasize that licensure and surveying are extremely important but hiring more state employees for that purpose is not the answer. The answer is to put funding into more services like crisis, client navigation, housing, and supportive services to those in need.

Today, NAMI Ohio mourns the loss of Susan and our prayers are with the family.


Help with a Special Holiday Gift – Donate Today

Help with a Special Holiday Gift – Donate Today

Dear Friend,

NAMI Ohio has worked for years to increase the quality of housing for those with severe and persistent mental illness.  We started the Ohio Adult Care Facilities Association over 20 years ago to advocate for the approximately 5,000 residents who live in these group homes who before were either homeless or lived in state hospitals. The residents of these homes are often abandoned by everyone. Their only family are the other residents living in their homes. Due to NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) the vast majority of these homes are in distressed areas. The home operators struggle to maintain these homes due to lack of resources.

For 20 years, I have personally gotten to know so many of these residents. When I go into a home, they yell my name and are so appreciative of any attention I give them. For fifteen years, through a grant from a foundation in Chicago, we have been able to hold an annual Christmas party in various locations throughout Ohio. Each year, the 80 residents that attend each get gifts that they so desperately need – shoes, coats, underwear, warm clothing, socks, gloves, etc. They are also given a holiday meal, with Christmas carols and crafts. I cannot adequately describe the one day of happiness that each of these residents have during the holiday party. Unfortunately, these residents do not have many days the rest of the year as joyous as this one.

A new project this year: Each year, I have been concerned that we only provide these items to a small number of those living throughout Ohio in adult care facilities. Today, we are asking for your help. I am asking that each of you reading this correspondence consider donating money and/or purchasing both adult male and female clothing that can be distributed and used by the other 4,900 special people in homes that will not attend our Annual Christmas party.

You can donate in a number of ways:

  1. Donate online via PayPal by CLICKING HERE or using the link below
  2. Mail a donation to NAMI Ohio’s “Adult Care Facility Christmas Fund” at 1225 Dublin Road; Suite 125; Columbus, Ohio 43215
  3. Deliver purchased items to the same address

Any donations are tax-deductible.

During the holidays, we are all inundated with holiday requests. I guarantee that no donation you make during the holidays would have a greater impact than helping this very unique and forgotten population. I will never forget the hug I received from Susie as she said, “God bless you. You’ve made my Christmas so special.”

Thank you,


Terry L. Russell