The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) Director Lori Criss recently approved local plans to dissolve the current structure of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ottawa-Erie Counties. The plans, submitted by Erie and Ottawa County Commissioners, join Ottawa County to the existing Seneca-Sandusky-Wyandot Mental Health and Recovery Services Board and create an independent board in Erie County.
Upon receiving the initial request for withdrawal in May, OhioMHAS began to undertake the necessary legal, financial, and fiduciary reviews required by both the Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 5122 and Ohio Revised Code Chapter 340 to ensure that the full continuum of behavioral health services continues without interruption for the residents of Erie and Ottawa counties.
The plan as approved will take effect Friday, Oct. 1.
“Our primary goal as we worked through this complex change was to ensure Ohioans served in Erie and Ottawa Counties continue to have access to high quality mental health and addiction prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services,” said Criss.
“I appreciate the efforts of the Erie and Ottawa County commissioners and local board leaders to thoughtfully develop the needed plans for the operation of an independent board in Erie County and the joining of Ottawa County to the Seneca-Sandusky-Wyandot board.
“Ohio’s ADAMH county boards are uniquely positioned to understand their communities’ needs, and it was important that this change be locally driven and reflect the voices of consumers and their families and other stakeholders.
“OhioMHAS remains committed to providing guidance to the leadership of these boards. In the face of ongoing addiction and mental health challenges, we must continue to work together to keep our families and our communities healthy.”
Statement from Ottawa County Commissioners:
“The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners would like to thank the state for its due diligence and review of the Ottawa County plan, and we are very excited to join the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Seneca, Sandusky & Wyandot Counties,” said the Ottawa County Commissioners in a joint statement. “We are confident this new partnership will continue to provide mental health and addiction services for Ottawa County residents who are in need and open opportunities for new or improved programs in the future.”