Chronicle Telegram endorses Issue 4!

Vote for 4 to help families in crisis
March 21, 2018
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Chronicle Telegram endorses Issue 4!

Many thanks to The Chronicle Telegram for their endorsement of Issue 4! Here's the text of their article, asking voters to support Issue 4 on May 8. To show additional fiscal information and information about how funds are allocated, we've added links; italics are ours.

Published in print edition of The Chronicle Telegram on April 10, 2018

OUR OPINION | Voters should support mental health levy

Helping those with mental illness is the responsibility of all of us.

Roughly 20 percent of the population will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives, Lorain County Board of Mental Health Director Kathleen Kern told us Monday. She also said that’s a conservative estimate. The real figure, she said, is likely higher.

There still is a lingering stigma that prevents some people from seeking help. Others lack the knowledge to recognize the signs that they or someone else needs help.

Whatever the actual figure, though, there’s no doubt that mental illness is an issue with the potential to impact every man, woman and child in Lorain County personally or through family, friends or coworkers.

Kern said depression and anxiety were the most common diagnoses, but by no means the only ones. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are among numerous other mental health issues faced by county residents.

She said the clinical services offered through agency partners served roughly 12,000 people annually, with another 14,000 crisis calls.

The need more than justifies the renewal of a 0.6-mill property tax levy that helps fund the agency, which in turn funnels the money it receives into a variety of mental health services in the county, including through the Nord Center ... Gathering Hope House and various other entities. (See the full list of funded agencies and services from the last fiscal cycle.)

The board has an annual budget of around $11.5 million (allocation budget in the most recent fiscal year was $13,413,049 -- see the full list of allocations here), about 85 percent of which comes from two levies, a 1.2-mill levy last renewed in 2014 for 10 years that generates around $6.5 million, and the levy that will appear on the May ballot as Issue 4.

If renewed, that levy would not raise taxes and continue to generate a little more than $3.6 million at a cost of $16.32 per year to the owner of home valued at $100,000.

Kern told us that roughly one-third of the board’s funds went toward providing residential services for those suffering from mental illness and another 30 percent or so went toward clinical services such as case management and counseling.

The agency also funds intervention, prevention and education programs through various agencies and has a presence in every school district in the county. Those programs range from training programs to crisis hotlines. 

These are all important services, and, as Kern said, the Board of Mental Health is providing a "safety net" for those with mental health issues.

Kern said county residents had been supportive of the two mental health levies for decades. Voters first passed the levy the board is seeking to renew in 1978.

We see no reason for that support to wane now and urge voters to approve Issue 4.

Who else has spoken out in favor of Issue 4?

Here are just a few of our supporters. See more at VoteFor4.com!

Greg Ring, Superintendent, Educational Service Center of Lorain County

“The Board of Mental Health is a vital partner to our county’s 14 school districts, offering treatment and prevention programs that support many of our students. Vote yes for Issue 4 on May 8!”

Sheriff Phil R. Stammitti, Lorain County Sheriff’s Office

“We must continue to invest in our children, in our future, in the stability of our homes and neighborhoods by supporting mental health care for those in need. I’ll be voting for Issue 4 and urging everyone else to do the same.”

Fr. Bill Thaden, Pastor, Sacred Heart Chapel

“Mental health care touches all of our families even if we don’t know it. There will be no pain for us to support Issue 4, as it adds no new taxes, but much pain for people we love if we do not.”

Bill Harper, Executive Director, United Way of Greater Lorain County

“United Way of Greater Lorain County endorses Issue #4, the renewal levy for Lorain County Board of Mental Health. The good work of our outstanding Board of Mental Health extends far beyond the essential mental health network it supports. We are proud to have Dr. Kathleen Kern and other key staff involved in our community collaboratives, supporting better lives for all of Lorain County through collective impact in health, education and financial stability.”

Clare Cygan Young, Executive Director, & Annette L. Wey, Board President, NAMI Lorain County

“Lorain County has a proud history of supporting mental health through implementing the most current practices while maintaining the highest fiscal standards thus providing a critical safety net for families in crisis.”

More at VoteFor4.com.

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