Winter can be bleak and isolating, with limited mobility. With COVID-19 expected to be around for months to come, anxiety, mental fatigue, depression, addiction and even suicide could be lurking, according to United Way of Ottawa County.
A community project in conjunction with United Way of Ottawa County is underway to help alert Put-in-Bay residents to important mental health and addiction counseling resources available to islanders and others. Officials are organizing an online “Lunch and Learn Emotional Health Support Forum” community zoom meeting on Monday, Nov. 23 at noon. For those wanting to attend in person, it will be held at Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church in Put-in-Bay. Please wear a mask.
The forum will focus on resources available to islanders without having to leave the island, and are confidential. Due to changes in Medicaid billing requirements, scheduled appointments can now be done virtually by home phone, cell phone or Zoom. These virtual emotional health services can provide quick response times for those in need. These important services may be billed to your insurance, Medicaid or billed on a prorated sliding scale based upon your income level.
If you’re feeling down or depressed and need to talk or reach out for help right away, call the local crisis hotline at 1-800-826-1306 or text 4HOPE anonymously to 741741. If you are especially worried about yourself or a loved one call the Erie and Ottawa Counties’ Crisis hotline. If you, a friend or a family member need to talk in person, contact the Put-in-Bay School guidance counselor, Put-in-Bay EMS, or the Put-in-Bay Police Department. In Ohio, there is also the Ohio Care Line at 1-800-720-9616 for those needing emotional support. It offers confidential support in times of personal or family crisis when individuals may be struggling to cope with challenges in their lives. Behavioral Health professionals staff the line 24 hours per day and seven days a week.
United Way is also looking for islanders who would be interested in taking QPR training. QPR stands for “Question, Persuade, Refer,” and is gatekeeper training for suicide prevention. It’s the CPR of mental health. The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Erie and Ottawa Counties will underwrite the $500 cost. Anyone interested should call 419-627-1908.
Ultimately, United Way officials hope this Emotional Support Forum will lead to an on-island resource and a dedicated online private Tele-Med room that is available to islanders. The “Lunch and Learn” community Zoom meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 17 at noon. For those interested in coming to the presentation in person, it will also be held at Mother of Sorrows. Please wear a mask. Zoom invites will be circulated via social media or call 419-285-2832.