KILBOURNE – The Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board welcomed community members, elected officials, community partners, and members of their provider network to Brown Township Hall for their first in person Annual Meeting since 2019. The event’s theme “Now, More Than Ever” referenced the rising demand for behavioral health services, and the urgency with which the DMMHRSB is working to meet that demand.
“We’re at an important juncture here where people are taking their mental health and recovery very seriously, and there needs to be adequate services available when people need them,” said Board Executive Director Deanna Brant.
While there is a sense of urgency, a palpable sense of relief accompanied the event, as the DMMHRSB officially marked the passage of their 1.5-mill levy earlier this month with a 54.3 percent vote from Delaware and Morrow counties combined. The levy typically makes up approximately 80 percent of their incoming revenue, and this year marked the first time the Board sought more than one mill from voters. The new levy will begin collecting at this rate in 2023.
“There is much to celebrate,” said Brant, addressing the crowd, “your presence, our work together, and the progress we have made in enhancing the behavioral health of Central Ohio.”
The celebration continued as the Board recognized several members of their network with awards. The Helping Hands Award recognizes provider employees and partners who are seen as going beyond the call of duty to help those in need. This year’s recipients were Gloria Minor from HelpLine, Doug Edwards from Syntero, and Tony Ployhar with Southeast Healthcare.
Last year, the Board changed its Lifetime Achievement Award to reflect the work of Del-Mor Dwellings Executive Director Jim Wilson, now calling it the Jim Wilson Community Service Award. The recipient of this year’s recognition was former DACC Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman, whose partnership with the Board and Maryhaven has resulted in behavioral healthcare for DACC students.
Also receiving awards were Morrow County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Delanis, whose handling of a crisis situation earlier this year earned him the Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year Award, and Justin Plummer, mental health specialist with Big Walnut Local Schools, who took home the Keys To Success Community Partner In Education Award.
Finally, the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities CARES Award was given to Delaware County EMS Assistant Chief Jen Cochran. Nominated by Board staff, Assistant Chief Cochran was recognized for her work with Critical Incident Stress Management and first responder wellness programs in Central Ohio.
“It’s November, which makes everyone think of Thanksgiving, so we need to take a minute and consider what we’re grateful for,” said Brant. “Having everyone together after these tough two years, seeing our award recipients in person, and the gratitude we feel to the voters, it just made for a great day and a great program.”
Rounding out the program was keynote speaker, Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County Executive Director Dr. Philip Atkins, who spoke about the evolving nature of behavioral healthcare and its impact, specifically, on children.