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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 8, 2021

Contact: Luke Russell, 614-224-2700

Luke@namiohio.org

The National Alliance on Mental Illness for Ohio commends Governor DeWine’s 2022/2023 State Budget for the focus on those with serious behavioral health needs.

The dollars allocated for cross-system collaboration and investments in housing will improve the lives of those with serious mental illness.

Columbus, Ohio – NAMI Ohio applauds Governor DeWine and his team for their continued commitment to the most vulnerable in Ohio, those with serious mental illness. Those with serious mental illness continue to be over represented in our jails, homeless shelters and on the streets of Ohio. These special folks continue to have a life expectancy rate 8 ½ years less than the general population. The ongoing need for basic supports such as food, housing, crisis intervention and care coordination must be addressed at the local, state and federal levels.

This budget is a huge step forward in moving us to a person-centered approach by investing in care coordination and housing with an enhanced focus on adults with serious mental illness.  “Governor DeWine promised to address the fragmented system of care and is delivering by addressing the core elements of those most in need of basic supports within the mental health delivery system,” said Terry Russell, Executive Director of NAMI Ohio. “The $11 million investment to strengthen cross-system collaboration begins to address issues such as continued readmissions into inpatient hospitals, the revolving cycle of repeated incarcerations, and lack of transition as those with serious mental illness seek to live full lives in the community. Furthermore, NAMI looks forward to working with the General Assembly to maintain this safety net funding for those with serious mental illness.”

Also, NAMI Ohio applauds the Governor and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for their efforts to improve group homes for those with serious mental illness. “The $12 million allocation to improve the quality in these homes could not come at a better time with limited housing options and a freeze on admissions due to COVID-19. “During this COVID Pandemic, the Governor and Department have committed a sizable amount of time, energy and resources to ensure the 700+ group homes had testing, PPEs and vaccinations.” Said Russell. “This budget allocation is just a continuation of Governor DeWine and Director Lori Criss’ commitment to the individuals with serious mental illness that call these residential settings home.”

Russell stated, “Early on in Governor DeWine’s term, NAMI Ohio proposed that a priority be made to serve those with severe and persistent mental illness through a focus on community-based supports beyond what the current system is providing. This budget proposal is just another step and example of how the Governor and his Administration have listened to the cries of individuals and their families we represent.”

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio (NAMI Ohio) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI Ohio is comprised of families, persons diagnosed with mental illness, and advocates working together to ensure that Ohioans with mental illness and their loved ones receive the treatment and support they need. The mission of NAMI Ohio is to improve the quality of life, ensure dignity and respect for persons with serious mental illness, and to support their families.