The National Alliance on Mental Illness for Ohio commends Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly for their focus in the 2022/2023 State Budget on the continued commitment to the most vulnerable in Ohio – those with serious mental illness.
“The biennial budget signed last night 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. Gov. DeWine and Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Lori Criss made good on their promise to help cure the fragmented system of care by providing 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 Governor and the General Assembly to maintain this safety net funding for those with serious mental illness.”
Also, NAMI Ohio applauds the administration’s efforts to improve group homes for those with serious mental illness by a $12 million allocation to improve the quality of these homes. “Help could not come at a better time with limited housing options and a freeze on admissions due to COVID-19. The administration committed a sizable amount of time, energy, and resources to ensure the 700+ group homes had testing, PPEs, and vaccinations,” stated Russell.
The budget is further evidence of the commitment to serve those with severe and persistent mental illness through a focus on community-based supports beyond what the current system is providing. “It shows how Gov. DeWine and Lt .Gov. Jon Husted listened to the cries of individuals and their families we represent,” said Russell.
NAMI Ohio also applauds Gov. DeWine’s veto of a provision in the budget that would have reduced the requirement for individuals with lived experience with mental health issues from serving on county alcohol, drug addiction, and mental health boards. “NAMI Ohio opposed the change included in the budget bill sent to Gov. DeWine because it played into the stigma toward those with mental illness by reducing their voice on local County ADAMH Boards. NAMI Ohio is open to a thorough discussion regarding the role, size of ADAMH Boards, and the type of categories required under the existing law. As the largest consumer and family group in the State, we think more voices of those impacted by serious mental illness is needed, not less.”
For Ohio’s citizens whose lives have been invaded by mental illness, we must be seen no differently than other health care issues. The approved State Budget is another step towards enhancing the quality of life of those living with mental illness and their families.