Provide Feedback to the Ohio Dept. of Medicaid

Provide Feedback to the Ohio Dept. of Medicaid

Dear Friends of NAMI Ohio,

NAMI Ohio has been very involved with what has been called the “redesign of the mental health and addiction system” under managed care in Ohio.

Recently, the Ohio Department of Medicaid developed a process to submit public input on the redesign implementation in Ohio. I think it is fair to say that this implementation has been less than positive for those that we represent.

The plan document can be found at: Public Comment:  HCBS Statewide Transition Plan.

Once on the webpage:

  1. Click on the link that says SUMMARY for a short overview of the plan
  2. Click on the link that says DETAIL to download a full copy of the report

Individuals may also contact the Ohio Department of Medicaid at (1-800-364-3153) to request a paper copy of the posting and associated documents.

The comment period will last until midnight on July 15, 2019. 

Please review the plan and submit comments.

Comments MUST be submitted by midnight of July 15, 2019 using one of the following options:

  • Written comments sent to:
    Attn: HCBS Statewide Transition Plan
    Ohio Department of Medicaid
    P.O. Box 182709, 5th Floor
    Columbus, OH 43215
  • FAX:(614) 752-7701 (please include Attn. HCBS Statewide Transition Plan in the subject line)
  • Calling toll-free to leave a voicemail message at: 1 (800) 364-3153
  • Courier or in-person submission to: Attn: BLTCSS, Lazarus Building, 50 W. Town St., Columbus OH 43215.

It is crucial that the Department of Medicaid receive comments from those living with mental illness, family members and caregivers, and individuals working with anyone who has been affected by mental illness.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact ODM at

Thank you!

Terry L. Russell
Executive Director

July is Minority Mental Health Month

July is Minority Mental Health Month


One in 5—60 million Americans—are affected by mental health conditions each year.

Mental health conditions do not discriminate based on race, color, gender or identity. Anyone can experience the challenges of mental illness regardless of their background.

However, background and identity can make access to mental health treatment much more difficultBebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 2008 to start changing this.


  • Mental health treatment differs among racial/ethnic identity groups and other minority communities. These disparities point to significant social and structural barriers to care.
  • The highest prevalence of mental illness is among mixed/multiracial adults—nearly 1 in 3 reported that they experienced a mental illness in 2017.
  • The lowest rate of treatment use is among Asian adults. Only 1 in 5 Asian adults with a mental illness reported that they received treatment in 2017.
  • Gay, lesbian, or bisexual adults are more than 2x as likely to experience a mental illness compared to their heterosexual peers.



Strength Over Silence Video Series: Stories of Courage, Culture, and Community

In this ongoing documentary miniseries, NAMI explores unique perspectives on mental health from the African-American and Latinx communities. Through candid and courageous stories of lived experience, these mental health champions share their journeys of resiliency and recovery.

View the videos here and please share with your networks:

NAMI Blog: In July, the NAMI Blog will feature 14 personal stories from diverse communities. New posts are added weekly. Be sure to check out the NAMI Blog and look for posts on our social media featuring quotes from our blog authors.

Suicide Prevention in the Farming Community

Suicide Prevention in the Farming Community

Written by: Alan Johnson

Many people think farming is a stress-free occupation – working outdoors, with fresh air and sunshine – but that’s often not the case.

In fact, Ohioans working in agriculture are more prone to mental health issues and have higher suicide rates than those in the general population.

NAMI Ohio and the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation are working with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to spread the word about suicide prevention and access to mental health services for people in the farming community.

Tony Coder, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Foundation, said there are many factors contributing to mental health issues on the farm, including financial instability, unpredictable weather, a solitary lifestyle, and limited access to health care.

“There’s a lot of pressure. How much of a farmer’s life is out of their control? Right now there’s a lot of concerns about economics and tariffs,” Coder said.

In farming as in general, there is an unfortunate stigma attached to mental illness that is not generally connected to physical illness. “These are strong people who don’t recognize they have a problem. They think they can deal with it themselves as strong solitary people,” Coder said.

Brad Reynolds, communications director for the 1,800-member Ohio Corn and Wheat Grocers Association, has seen the stress up close and personal because the group lost one of its board members to suicide.

“There are just a lot of stressors going on in the market,” Reynolds said, “Our dairy farmers are seeing it as well. It’s a scary time. These are strong individuals but they don’t have to be the strongest people all the time. If you spend your entire day and livelihood solving problems, what happens when there’s a problem you can’t solve?”

Behavioral health issues in the agricultural community have caught the attention of officials with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, including Dr. Justin Trevino, the agency’s medical director, and Kathleen Coate-Ortiz, chief of mental health services.

“Farming is a really difficult job and has become more difficult as time goes on,” Trevino said. In addition to other issues, it is also a dangerous occupation, with accidental death rates more than five times that of the general population,” he said. “Behind the scenes, it’s become quite a stressful thing. “

Coate-Ortiz said the suicide rate among farmers is alarming.

Quite often, there is limited access to primary medical care in rural Ohio, in addition to behavioral health care, she said.

“Farmers carry forth in this business for generations,” Coate-Ortiz said. “They supply Americans with food. That’s their heritage and when they can’t do it, they think they’ve failed.”

NAMI Ohio and mental health officials are working with community agencies, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and a host of other organizations to get out the word in recognizing the signs of mental illness and suicide.

One such group is Mindful Minds of Logan County which offers mental health first aid and education for schools, businesses and the community.

“The most important thing is to reach out of somebody, whether it’s the local mental health and addition board or somebody else,” said Coder of the Suicide Prevention Foundation. “We need to break through that stigma and have some real conversations.”

There’s also an online resource called Man Therapy that works through the Suicide Foundation, taking an informative and sometimes humorous look at mental health issues related to men. It is designed to bridge the stigma by addressing things in a “manly way” such as cooking, yoga and “feelings are not just for hippies.”

The Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline can be reached at 1 800 273-8255 or by texting 4HOPE to 741-741.

Why Care? May Mental Health Month Campaign

Why Care? May Mental Health Month Campaign

During the month of May NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is launching the WhyCare? awareness campaign for Mental Health Month. The campaign emphasizes how the “power of caring” can make a life-changing impact on the more than 40 million people in the U.S. who face the day-to-day reality of having a mental health condition. The campaign is focused on increasing education, resources, and access to care.

Central to the campaign is encouraging others to learn the facts about mental illness. NAMI’s goal is to bring mental health education to all corners of our communities. With education, people can identify warning signs of mental health conditions and help someone who may be struggling.

Navigating life with mental illness can be difficult, and NAMI wants to make it easier to find resources and people who care. The WhyCare? campaign features a webpage, sharable graphics and a downloadable emoji pack for smartphones— resources that can be used as a way to reach out to someone or to show your community that you care about those with mental illness.

By caring and working together, we can create positive change. We can shift the social and systemic barriers that prevent people from getting appropriate care and treatment. We can work towards a nation where everyone affected by mental illness can find the support and care they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.

“NAMI believes that providing education and support—and advocating for better care and treatment—is critical to getting people on a path of recovery,” said Angela Kimball, Acting CEO of NAMI. “This year, during Mental Health Month in May, we’re asking you to tell us why you care using the hashtags #WhyCare and #NAMIcares to join the conversation with examples of what you are doing personally or in your community.”

Key mental health statistics include:

  • 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health condition.
  • 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in the U.S. lives with a serious mental illness.
  • 43.8 million adults in the U.S. face the day-to-day reality of living with a mental illness.
  • Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but early intervention programs can help.
  • Additional facts and citations are available at Mental Health by the Numbers.

For additional information about Mental Health Month and to access WhyCare? resources, please visit

Meet the New OSPF Director – Tony Coder

Meet the New OSPF Director – Tony Coder

*Interview & Article by: Alan Johnson, NAMI Ohio Contract Writer 

Tony Coder, the new executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, says it’s time to bring the epidemic of suicides out into the open.

“These are all good people. They’re not wrecked families. We need to support them and we have opportunities now to do that.”

Coder, a native of tiny Lewiston in Logan County, was appointed Feb. 25 as new head of the foundation, which is a subsidiary of the National Association on Mental Illness Ohio. The foundation is housed in NAMI’s offices at 1225 Dublin Rd. in Columbus.

Although this is Coder’s first job exclusively focused on suicide prevention, he has a long history of dealing with mental health, addiction and social service issues, dating back to his first job as pastor of the LaPointe United Methodist Church in Ottawa County. As he felt God’s calling to ministry, Coder said he felt the calling to work in other ways to help people. That led to a position with Ohio Job and Family Services, then into the administration of former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft.

Coder worked for First Lady Hope Taft from 2000 to 2006, primarily on drug and alcohol issues. He guided the award-winning Smart and Sober campaign, featuring former Happy Days actor Henry Winkler.

He later worked again for Job and Family Services before joining the Drug Free Action Alliance as assistant director and later with the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities.

The decision to accept NAMI Director Terry Russell’s offer to run the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation was prompted by personal experience, Coder said, remembering when his son called him from a hospital bed after attempting to take his own life in 2017. His son was later diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and is now doing well. Coder said his son urged him to take the new job.

“I told him that there will be times I will tell your story and he was absolutely fine with it.”

“It is a personal type of journey when you have lost someone to suicide,” Coder related. “But there is a stigma and people are voiceless. I am fighting for them.”

The numbers are daunting, with suicide as the second-leading cause of death for young people 10 to 24 years old. There is also a huge surge in suicide deaths among middle-age men.

The foundation has a number of resources to help, including a peer-to-peer program, training for health care professionals, and a project with the Cleveland Clinic and Nationwide Children’s Hospital to do follow up contact with people who have attempted suicide after they leave the hospital.

Coder said he hopes the foundation can serve as a coordinating agency for a variety of suicide prevention programs like “wrapping a blanket around the community.”

The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation can be reached at 614 429-1528.

The national suicide hotline is 800 273-8255.

Register for NAMI Ohio Advocacy Day – May 15th

Register for NAMI Ohio Advocacy Day – May 15th

Join NAMI Ohio on Wednesday, May 15, for the 2019 Legislative Advocacy Day. Enjoy lunch in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium and hear inspirational speakers. Following lunch, you will have the opportunity to visit with your Senators and Representatives. Meeting one on one with your elected officials is the best way to advocate for mental health services, access, and encourage support of current bills related to mental health issues.

Click Link to Register

Click Here to Find the NAMI Ohio FY 20-21 State Budget Advocacy Document