May 15, 2013

Mental Health & Recovery Board Advocates Crisis Intervention Training and Vacant Seats During mental Health Month in Clermont County

Pictured from left to right: Commissioner Proud, Commissioner Uible, Lee Ann Watson, Karen Scherra and Commissioner Humphrey.

Pictured from left to right: Commissioner Proud, Commissioner Uible, Lee Ann Watson, Karen Scherra and Commissioner Humphrey.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2013

Batavia, OH – The Commissioners have proclaimed May as Mental Health Month in Clermont County with the hopes to help raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of mental wellness for everyone. The theme for Mental Health Month this May is Pathways to Wellness.  President of the Board of Clermont County Commissioners, Ed Humphrey, stated, “Preventing mental health problems and treating mental illness is necessary in creating healthy communities where all residents can thrive. Humphrey added, “Promotion and support of community based prevention and treatment services that respond to youth, adult and family mental health needs are necessary to promote overall wellness and the Commissioners proudly support the local efforts that improve overall health in our communities.” 

Karen J. Scherra, Executive Director of the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board (MHRB), accepted the proclamation for Mental Health Month and during the presentation stated it is fitting for this also to be National Police Appreciation Week. Scherra considers the two merged because of Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board’s advanced Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program attended by local law enforcement, first responders and emergency responders. She reported that 46% of Clermont County’s full-time sworn police officers, a Park Ranger, a State Highway Patrol officer and several corrections officers from the County Jail, as well as UC Clermont Safety Officers and two local EMS Fire Departments have all now been trained in the CIT training program.

The CIT training provides those who participate with additional tools to appropriately handle circumstances involving a mental health crisis. This is a benefit for law enforcement officers because the training teaches hands-on methods in deescalating the situation, which provides a safe environment for all involved. The CIT training equips participants with the tools needed to properly assess and respond to a mental health situation.  The CIT program is more than training.  It is also involves partnerships between law enforcement and mental health providers and assures that access to services is available for those identified as needing mental health assistance. Individuals with a mental health disorder or a mental health crisis can now be referred by police officers for treatment.

Having emergency responders attend the CIT training is also beneficial to the people who have a mental illness; they can now be referred for treatment as opposed to being caught up in the criminal justice system. Scherra explained that family members now feel more comfortable contacting law enforcement and trust that they will respond appropriately. “We feel that we are doing what we can at Clermont County MHRB to connect both agencies and people to the proper mental health services offered in our county and to minimize the strain on resources for police and criminal justice,” said Scherra. “This training is one of the most exciting things we have facilitated in many years and I believe it is a real benefit to the county, kudos to all those who have attended.”

There are a variety of different ideas about what wellness means, but one thing is evident, wellness involves a specialized set of skills and strategies. Strategies and skills that help prevent the arrival, or at least shorten the duration of illness, and most importantly to help promote recovery and well-being. The Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board calls attention to these strategies and approaches necessary to help all Americans achieve wellness, positive mental and overall good health. The Board teaches that achieving overall wellness leads to good health and is essential to living a full and productive life.  

Lee Ann Watson, Associate Director of the Clermont County MHRB, leads community education efforts regarding mental health awareness in the county.  She explains that everyone is at risk of stress given the demands it brings and the challenges at work and at home. Watson said the good news is that there are steps to maintaining well-being that can help everyone achieve overall wellness. These steps involve a balanced diet, regular exercise, enough sleep, a sense of self-worth, development of coping skills that promote resiliency, emotional awareness, and reciprocal connections to family, friends and the community. “Wellness is more than absence of disease. It’s about keeping healthy as well as getting healthy,” stated Watson. She stresses the necessity for people to invest in their mental health by learning the ways to better handle stress. “Mental health is an essential component of overall health and well-being. The fact is our overall well-being is tied to the balance that exists between our emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health,” said Watson. “It is an important piece of the puzzle in leading full and productive lives.”

Watson said studies show that fully embracing the concept of wellness not only improves health in the mind, body and spirit, but also maximizes one’s potential to lead a full and productive life. Using strategies that promote resiliency and strengthen mental health and prevent mental health and substance use conditions lead to improved general health and a healthier society: greater academic achievement, a more productive economy, and families that stay together. “It’s why the theme Pathways to Wellness is so important and why we need to spread the word,” stated Watson. Local organizations across the country observe Mental Health Month every May to promote good mental health and raise awareness concerning mental health issues. “We genuinely hope that all realize the connection of overall health as it is directly linked to a person’s mental health and overall well-being,” said Watson.

“The Commissioners call upon all Clermont County citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and schools to make a commitment to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of mental health, especially for children and their families, the need for appropriate and accessible mental health services, and the availability of current mental health resources,” stated Commissioner Humphrey.

The Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board is accepting new Board Members at this time.  If you’re interested in joining the Board, you can download the application at http://bcc.clermontcountyohio.gov/2011+Board+Appointments+Application.pdf and mail the completed form to Board of Clermont County Commissioners, 101 East Main Street, Batavia, OH 45103.  To obtain more information and tips about the topics included in this article,visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/faqs today! For more urgent matters, Clermont County has a 24 hour Crisis Hotline available, call 513-528-SAVE (7283) for immediate help.

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For additional information about this or other county news, contact Clermont County Communications Director, Annette Meagher at (513) 441-9647 or by e-mail, ameagher@clermontcountyohio.gov

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