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Thriving Minds: Solving Ohio's Mental Health Crisis

Ohio’s mental healthcare needs are as acute as they’ve ever been, but Ohioans’ struggle with mental health has also achieved a new and higher level of visibility, thanks to the persistent dedication of mental health advocates. Mental health struggles are touching every part of Ohio’s population: children, adults, employers, and employees, and those of any age wrestling with addiction or thoughts of suicide.

The statistics are sobering:
*From 2009 to 2019 the proportion of high school students reporting persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40%.
*Over 900,000 Ohioans are estimated to have a substance use disorder.
*53% of parents have had to leave the workplace at least once a month to deal with their children’s mental health.
*76% of employees when surveyed have at least one symptom of a mental health condition.

Ohio’s leaders in the field have also made clear that mental health issues aren’t merely healthcare issues, they’re workforce development issues: the state’s economy can’t thrive if the mental health needs of its workers and their families aren’t addressed and supported. Tellingly, a state official reported hearing most often from Ohio’s mothers and sheriffs: two groups both dealing daily with the effects of fellow Ohioans struggling with mental health needs. There is clearly hope: national studies show that 3 of 4 people who experience addiction eventually recover, and up to 33% of people living with serious mental illness and 67% of adults with mild to moderate mental illness experience partial to full recovery over time. And Ohio is talking more about mental health than ever before, with the stigma of mental illness slowly evaporating, thanks to a changing public willingness to talk openly about mental illness. Some 70% of companies have also introduced or enhanced their well-being benefits for their employees. With an expert panel of passionate leaders, we unpack the state of mental health in Ohio for a look at how leaders are assessing the mental health of Ohioans and working to create healthier children, employees, and families.

Featuring Andriel Ugbomeh, CEO, Healing Without Limits Counseling & Consulting; Erika Clark Jones, CEO, Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH); LeeAnne Cornyn, Director, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services; and Charleta B. Tavares, Chief Executive Officer, PrimaryOne Health.