Since the start of the fiscal year, the Four County ADAMhs Board has received grants totaling $23,728 to support a variety of suicide prevention activities that are coordinated by the ADAMhs Board and the Four County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
At the Feb. 14 ADAMhs Board meeting, Tonie Long, the board’s representative to the Coalition, explained how the funds have been used.
The largest grant ($18,784) was awarded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. It has been used to provide Mental Health First Aid trainings throughout the four county area and the Signs of Suicide program in area schools.
So far this year, Maumee Valley Guidance Center’s prevention staff has trained 201 people at 12 Mental Health First Aid trainings. Seven more of the all-day classes scheduled through the end of the fiscal year.
Maumee Valley offers both a youth and an adult Mental Health First Aid training where participants are taught how to assess for the risk of suicide or harm. They also learn how to listen nonjudgmentally, to give assurance and information, to encourage appropriate professional help, and to encourage self-help and other support strategies.
Since the school year began, Maumee Valley staff has given 90 Signs of Suicide classroom presentations to 1,758 students in 15 area school districts.
A $1,949 grant from the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF) has been used to purchase manuals for persons who complete the adult Mental Health First Aid classes.
Long said the board has received another OSPF grant totaling $1,995. That money has been used to purchase materials for an information packet that is given to persons who have lost a loved one to suicide. The packets are distributed by members of the Local Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) team when it meets with survivors following a suicide.
Last year, the LOSS team met with 19 families following a loved one’s suicide death.
Money from the second OSPF grant has also supported a monthly survivors after suicide support group that meets the at the ADAMhs Board office on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m.
Long explained the support group is free and open to anyone who has experienced a suicide death at any time in their life. Participation in the group has been growing with 11 participants at their most recent meeting. The group is led by Amanda Waldfogel, a licensed social worker.
Finally, the board received a $1,000 grant from the Ohio Association of Behavioral Health Authorities to promote the Crisis Text Line (Text: 4hope to 741741).
Although the 23 confirmed suicide deaths last year is three less than the 26 completed suicides in 2017, Long explained that there are still some deaths from last year that the county coroners have not ruled on yet. However, the 26 deaths in 2017 represented the highest number of suicide deaths in the four county area in the last 10 years.
ADAMhs Board CEO Rob Giesige reported that he and Tonie Long are actively looking for all types of grants that the Four County board is eligible to apply for.
Giesige also reported that the board’s annual state audit has started.
In addition to routine business items, the board approved a resolution stating it will pick-up or pay five percent of the chief executive officer’s required contribution to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).
The resolution limits the board’s pick-up to five percent of the employee’s required contribution, which is currently 10 percent of salary. It also establishes the pick-up as an on-going benefit for the board’s chief executive officer.
The board’s CEO contract has included the PERS pick-up for a number of years; however, PERS policy now requires the board to approve a resolution as well.