|The MHARS Board is celebrating July’s Minority Mental Health Month with new resources, information and learning options. Watch our Facebook page for opportunities throughout the month of July: facebook.com/mharslc.|
|Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America [REPORT] |
The Urban League and God’s Kngdom in Lorain have joined the MHARS Board’s call to bring awareness to a growing concern: the rising rate of death by suicide among Black youth, particularly boys. We ask everyone to learn about the recent work of the Congressional Black Caucus to bring attention to this issue.
Please read and view these resources:
Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide in America | Report to Congress from the Congressional Black Caucus
Responding to the Alarm: Addressing Black Youth Suicide webinar
Join us July 9
Then, take action yourself by joining us on July 9 at sessions hosted by God’s Kngdom, to learn basic suicide prevention techniques and ways to have tough conversations about suicide. Register right away!
Session for Faith Leaders at 4 pm on July 9: REGISTER
Session Open-to-All at 6 pm on July 9: REGISTER
The local Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board is providing resources to help mitigate possible new risks to people in active addiction and long-term recovery during the pandemic.
“Your loved one may be more at risk of dying of an accidental overdose now, because of a combination of factors related to the pandemic,” says Elaine Georgas, Interim Executive Director of the MHARS Board. “We are especially concerned about people on their recovery journey who are isolated, and might be exposed to illicit drugs with highly dangerous, unknown components while they are also experiencing withdrawal symptoms or reduced tolerance.”
Initial data through the local law enforcement New World system shows incidents of overdose increased slightly in March, and then increased threefold in April, with May following the same trend, according to Sarah Reinhold, the MHARS Board First Response Project Manager and data analyst.
Georgas notes ways to be prepared to help a loved one in active addiction and recovery, including:
- Connect with support for all family members through Let’s Get Real, Inc., to learn how to help a loved one in active addiction or in recovery from a substance use disorder: 440-963-7042. Also ask about online recovery groups.
- Sit with your loved one while they call the local addiction helpline to seek treatment, available 24/7: 440-989-4900.
- Ask all friends, loved ones and colleagues to add the Crisis Text Line to the contacts list in their phone: 741741. This is a free, confidential option to help people through a moment of distress, no matter what the challenge is.
- Request a free Narcan rescue kit from Lorain County Public Health by visiting www.loraincountyhealth.com/opioids. Narcan is a medicine that may reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug like Percocet, Vicodin, morphine, Demerol, heroin, and Oxycontin. Narcan is an emergency medicine that blocks the effect of the opioid on the brain and can help a person start breathing again. It does not reverse overdoses caused by non-opioid drugs like cocaine, alcohol, methamphetamines and benzodiazepines.
- Request a free medication disposal pouch to safely remove old or unused prescriptions from your home medicine cabinets, by contacting 440-282-9920.
- If you know that a loved one will use dangerous drugs, and may use them alone, tell them about the national Never Use Alone service available at 1-800-484-3731. This service asks callers for their location, allergies or medical conditions, and then an operator stays on the line with the caller while they use drugs. If the caller becomes unresponsive, the operator will notify emergency services of possible overdose. The service’s philosophy is to provide recovery help if requested, but they state: “We recognize that you will only quit when you’re ready to quit. We just want to help keep you alive until that time comes.”
- If you know someone in long-term recovery, who has been sober or drug-free for months or years, check in on them frequently. This period of reduced social contact can be dangerous for them. Search “Ohio Strive for 5” and #OHStrive5 for tips on how to stay connected.
Georgas notes that the unprecedented nature of the pandemic means that behavioral health specialists cannot know for certain that there are new risk factors, or that those may cause an increase in deaths. However, she urges action on data that is beginning to show an upward trend coinciding with the pandemic.
The National Institutes of Health called the opioid epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic a “collision of public health crises.”
The medical examiner for nearby Cuyahoga County issued a public health alert on May 19 after seeing a spike in drug overdose deaths. Soon after, the state’s Mental Health and Addiction Services department issued a notice of an increase in suspected drug overdose emergency department visits, citing anomalies in nine other counties across Ohio.
So far in 2020, 41 deaths by overdose have been recorded in Lorain County.
Georgas notes that in the wake of national or collective tragedy or distress, like that of a major health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of substance use often increase, along with other behavioral health challenges like depression or PTSD. Services are available through the non-emergency Navigator line at 440-240-7025 during regular business hours. The crisis hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-888-6161.
The MHARS Board serves as the local authority for community mental health and substance use services. The Board is the county agency responsible for the planning, evaluation and funding of needed programs and facilities for addiction and mental health services. Resources and information available at mharsloraincounty.org.Learn More
Essential workers are taking care of all of us, and now there’s a resource to help take care of them.
“The stress levels at work are unbelievable.”
“I’m worried about exposing my family to illness.”
“I’m watching out for everyone, but sometimes I think, who’s watching out for me?”
If you are an essential worker, healthcare provider or first responder in Lorain County, and you’ve thought or said any of the things above—or if you know an essential worker who has—please read and share this flyer.
We are offering essential workers and healthcare workers free, confidential virtual groups to share experiences, process emotions, and manage stress. Groups are led by a behavioral health professional with crisis experience, they are limited to 10 participants and may last up to 60 minutes.
This group does not replace resources offered at your work; instead it is an additional option and safe space for people who could use caring support among other frontline professionals.
Please contact Amber Smith at email@example.com or 440-204-4163 for registration or questions.
This resource provided by The Nord Center in partnership with the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County.Learn More
At their April 29, 2020, meeting, the Lorain County Commissioners issued a proclamation for May as Mental Health Month for the County of Lorain.
If your city or civic group would like to join the effort to support each other’s mental health and wellness in May and beyond, please contact Clare Rosser at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a proclamation and Mental Health Month toolkit of online resources.
Many thanks to the Commissioners for promoting Mental Health Month.
The Commissioners’ proclamation reads as follows:
WHEREAS, mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and wellbeing; and
WHEREAS, attention to mental health needs has never been more important than during this time of global change; and
WHEREAS, all Americans face challenges in life that can impact their mental health; and
WHEREAS, prevention is an effective way to reduce the burden of mental health conditions; and
WHEREAS, there are practical tools that all people can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency; and
WHEREAS, mental health conditions are real and prevalent in our nation; and
WHEREAS, with effective treatment, those individuals with mental health conditions can recover and lead full, productive lives; and
WHEREAS, each business, school, government agency, healthcare provider, organization and citizen shares the burden of mental health problems and has a responsibility to promote mental wellness and support prevention efforts; and
WHEREAS, the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County provides leadership and direction to local partners by planning, funding and monitoring community mental health and substance use needs.
THEREFORE, the Lorain County Commissioners, do hereby proclaim May 2020 as Mental Health Month. We call upon the citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and schools in Lorain County to recommit our community to increasing awareness and understanding of mental health, the steps our citizens can take to protect their mental health, and the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental health conditions.Learn More
While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The good news is there are practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency, and there are ways that everyone can be supportive of friends, family, and co-workers who are struggling with life’s challenges or their mental health.
This May is Mental Health Month. The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County is highlighting what individuals can do daily to prioritize their mental health, build resiliency in the face of trauma and obstacles, support those who are struggling, and work towards a path of recovery, with resources from the #OHStrive5 and #Tools2Thrive campaigns.
One of the easiest tools anyone can use is taking a free, confidential mental health screening at https://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/lorain when they need answers. It’s a quick, free, and private way for people to assess their mental health and recognize signs of mental health problems.
This May, we are also exploring topics that can help you build your own set of #Tools2Thrive – recognizing and owning your feelings; finding the positive after loss; connecting with others through #OHStrive5; eliminating toxic influences; creating healthy routines; and supporting others – all as ways to boost the mental health and general wellness of you and your loved ones.
When it comes to your feelings, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. It’s ok to give yourself permission to feel.
We also know that life can throw us curveballs – and at some point in our lives we will all experience loss. It may be the end of a relationship, being let go from a job, losing a home, or the death of a loved one. It is natural to go through a grieving process. By looking for opportunity in adversity or finding ways to remember the good things about who or what we’ve lost, we can help ourselves to recover mentally and emotionally.
It also is true that connections and the people around us can help our overall mental health – or hurt it. It’s important to make connections with other people that help enrich our lives and get us through tough times, but it’s equally important to recognize when certain people and situations in life can trigger us to feel bad or engage in destructive behaviors. Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time.
And we know that work, paying bills, cleaning, getting enough sleep, and taking care of children are just some of the things we do each day – and it is easy to be overwhelmed. By creating routines, we can organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them.
For each of us, the tools we use to keep us mentally healthy will be unique. The MHARS Board wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. Finding what work for you may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, and physical health and mental health – and set yourself on the path to recovery.
For more information, visit www.mhanational.org/may.
The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County is offering free Safe Medication Disposal Pouches by mail to residents of Lorain County, until June 5, 2020, or as supplies last.
“Since most of us are home due to precautions for COVID-19, we can use this time to assess the safety of our own medicine cabinets,” says Jinx Mastney, Opioid Response Outreach Coordinator for the MHARS Board. “Old and unused prescriptions and medications can be dangerous if left around the house.”
A Safe Medication Disposal Pouch “deactivates” drugs, rendering them inert and safe for disposal through regular home trash. Disposing of medication safely prevents misuse, or accidental exposure by children or pets.
The MHARS Board is offering the pouches free by mail within Lorain County in response to COVID-19.
Mastney notes that the public has less access to typical medication-collection spots. Twice a year, during National Drug Takeback Days, the MHARS Board promotes ways and places to dispose of drugs that can be dangerous or misused. This April’s Drug Takeback Day is postponed because of the novel coronavirus, but Mastney says that the MHARS Board is still making safety options available to the public.
Also, the national Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) launched a “Secure Your Meds” safety campaign in lieu of Drug Takeback Day, with social media messages to share at takebackday.dea.gov or the MHARS Facebook page at facebook.com/mharsloraincounty.
“Protecting the health and safety of our communities is DEA’s top priority, especially during the unprecedented public health emergency,” DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon stated in a release. “With Americans at home, families need to be even more vigilant and keep prescription medications safe, secure, and out of reach of children and others in the household.”
For a free disposal pouch, please contact Mastney at 440-282-9920 or email@example.com.
The MHARS Board serves as the local authority for community mental health and substance use services. The Board is the county agency responsible for the planning, evaluation and funding of needed programs and facilities for addiction and mental health services.Learn More
Ohio Launches Toll-Free ‘COVID Careline’ to Provide Emotional Support for Ohioans Amid Coronavirus Pandemic: 1-800-720-9616
COLUMBUS –The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) today joined with Governor Mike DeWine and RecoveryOhio to launch a new, toll-free Careline to provide emotional support for Ohioans who are experiencing stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohioans may call 1-800-720-9616 to connect with trained counselors for 24/7 support.
“Coronavirus has undoubtedly affected how Ohioans are living their lives,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotional reactions in adults and children. Reaching out for help to cope with that stress will make you, the people you care about, and Ohio stronger.”
Common signs of stress during an infectious disease outbreak include:
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Worsening of mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
- Difficulty coping with changes in daily routines
- Feelings of isolation and loneliness
- Financial worries
“It is completely natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster,” said OhioMHAS Director Lori Criss. “Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and respond in ways that help you and your family remain healthy now and in the future. Our hope is that the Careline will help thousands of Ohioans connect with resources and services they need to create wellness in these uncertain times.”
The Careline is staffed by credentialed counselors who have been trained to provide free, confidential support for a wide range of needs, including mental health concerns, substance use, problem gambling, and more. Individuals experiencing an acute crisis can still reach out to the Ohio Crisis Text Line (keyword 4HOPE to 741 741) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
“As Ohio moves toward recovery from the pandemic, we encourage our citizens to reach out for help if they need someone to talk to,” said RecoveryOhio Director Alisha Nelson. “We cannot underestimate the importance of our mental health during this crisis and beyond. If you are having a difficult time, please take care of yourself and call the Careline.”
For more information about the Careline, visit: http://mha.ohio.gov/careline.Learn More
MHARS Board partners with the Governor’s office and OhioMHAS to bring connection campaign to Ohio
On April 13, 2020, Governor Dewine and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Criss issued a challenge to Ohioans: find 5 people in your life to check in with every day for 30 days. The Strive for Five Challenge helps us all feel connected, and can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness as we navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our communities are full of caring people who want to help others manage stress, cope and thrive during this time, ” says Elaine Georgas, Interim Director, Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County. “We took the lead on bringing Strive for 5 to Ohio to give all residents a simple, uplifting way to connect, and protect each other’s well-being. Particularly for persons who are alone, in recovery or just uncertain, each of us reaching out to five people every day for the next 30 days will make us stronger and resilient.”
“Our Board’s Communications and Community Relations Director, Clare Rosser, moved quickly to reach out to the partners at the New York Coalition for Behavioral Health to bring this to Lorain County and Ohio,” Georgas says. “We are proud to have the Governor and our State office’s backing on this, so that all Ohioans can benefit.”
Rosser notes that mental health and substance use agencies are essential and are still serving clients. In fact, many providers are still able to take new clients, if someone is experiencing a mental health or addiction concern for the first or a recurring time. She says that personal, daily connections like those encouraged by the Strive for 5 Challenge can provide another essential layer of protection for any person’s well-being.
“For the Strive for 5 Challenge, try to prioritize people who live alone and might be feeling even more isolated because of that, or people who cope daily with depression or anxiety, or who are in recovery from a substance use disorder. Also, think about those who have experienced a loss, like the loss of a job, relationship, loved one, or even a loss of routines that help them cope,” says Rosser. “Find your five. Connect with them every day. Those connections will boost your mental well-being, too.”
Find social media images and information to share here: OHStrive5.org #OHStrive5Learn More
Firelands Regional Medical Center Counseling and Recovery Services is offering a 24-hour helpline for healthcare workers and first responders who are on the front lines treating patients during the coronavirus outbreak. The helpline at 419-557-5835 is answered by trained staff who can connect callers with licensed mental health clinicians. The clinicians offer an empathetic ear, coping skills and strategies to better manage challenges related to COVID-19.Learn More
#BHisOpenforBusiness | Mental health and substance use services are essential. Agencies are still serving the public.
If you are a client, please stay in contact with your mental health or recovery care provider, keep your appointments, and stay on your course of treatment.
Many providers are still taking new patients, to help if you are experiencing a mental health or addiction issue for the first or a recurring time.
Find the help you or a loved one might need online at mharsloraincounty.org/find-help, or by calling the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services at 1-877-275-6364 (extended hours: 8am-8pm Monday-Friday).
Feeling stressed or anxious about coronavirus precautions? Talk through your emotional distress using these free, confidential resources:
• Text 4hope to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line
• Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national helpline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster or event like the coronavirus
Our Board administration offices are closed to the public currently, because we do not provide direct services at those sites. You can still reach any of our staff members using their phone number or email, available at mharsloraincounty.org.
#BHisOpenforBusiness #COVID19OhioReady #InThisTogetherOhioLearn More