The Four County ADAMhs Board will invest a quarter of a million dollars next year and likely for years beyond to improve youth health habits and coping skills. The long term goal, according to board CEO Les McCaslin, is to help students understand and make lifestyle changes that will lead to a healthier life – both physically and mentally.
The program, to be implemented by the four county health departments as a public health/mental wellness initiative, was part of some $5.1 million in service contracts that were approved by the ADAMhs Board at its meeting on Thursday (April 13).
McCaslin explained that for the last 10 years the county youth health needs assessments have consistently shown that 20 to 27 percent of the area’s youth report symptoms typical of clinical depression. The same surveys have also shown that many of the area’s youth don’t follow a nutritious, well-balanced diet or exercise regularly.
When the responses to those questions were compared, 80 percent of the youth who reported symptoms of depression were also part of the group that didn’t regularly eat healthy or exercise.
According to McCaslin, the health departments will use the funds to develop a program that addresses diet, exercise and mental health to help the students live healthier, happier lives. He added the health departments’ public health educators are a logical partner to implement the program since they already have relationships with the schools.
“The change we hope to make will take time to achieve,” he said. “But, if we are successful, the benefits will be life-long. This is going to be a really big deal.”
He compared this effort to the original public education campaign to promote recycling. There was an emphasis on educating young people about the importance of recycling and encouraging them to recycle. While many of their parents continued to throw everything in the trash, today those students are practicing what they were taught.
The $250,000 for this program will be administered through the Williams County Health Department.
The board awarded other service contracts for the fiscal year starting July 1, including $1.6 million for Family Service of Northwest Ohio, which operates Four County Family Center and Comprehensive Crisis Care, and $1.2 million for Maumee Valley Guidance Center.
Also: Recovery Services of Northwest Ohio, $550,000; A Renewed Mind, $461,000; Health Partners of Western Ohio, $400,000; New Home Development Company, $300,000; Arrowhead Behavioral Health, $225,000; Northwest Ohio Community Action Commission (P.A.T.H. Center program), $65,000; Center for Child and Family Advocacy, $40,500; Quadco Rehabilitation Center, $25,000; and Glenn Adult Foster Care, $12,000.
Funding for the health department program is new; however, all of the other agencies will receive a similar amount money as they have in the past with two exceptions. Funding fhe Center for Child and Family Advocacy and Quadco Rehabilitation Center has been reduced to reflect the agencies’ actual contract utilization during the current fiscal year.
Carla B. Davis, a Toledo attorney who has represented the board at civil commitment hearings since 1990, was approved to continue to represent the board.
The board approved additional funding for the current year for Maumee Valley Guidance Center to provide a client with residential services, $4,500; and train additional staff in critical incident stress management, $6,000.
In his report to the board, McCaslin said that ADAMhs Board will lose an additional $90,000 this year as the tangible personal property tax continues to be phased out. The board continues to be under budget for bed day use at the state psychiatric hospital in Toledo.
Barb Fisher, a former ADAMhs Board member from Montpelier, has been appointed by the Williams County commissioners to fill a vacant, unexpired term through June 2019.