LFC Comments: Governor DeWine (hopefully in his last year as numero uno in the State of Ohio) has been a tyrant in his edicts on the mask mandates. We have been concerned that his obsession for control has impacted the residents of Lake County. We contacted the ADAMHS Board and asked Ms. Kim Fraser, the Executive Director, if they have detected any increase in mental health issues. Here are her answers:
Thank you for reaching out. In response to your questions:
1. As of the first quarter of 2021 there have been no suicides of individuals under the age of 18. That said, we continue to provide SOS (Signs of Suicide) training to all school districts.
2. In addition to the enhanced school-based services I shared with you previously, our system has developed a mobile response crisis team specific to youth; the team is able to respond to youth/families experiencing behavioral health crises in the home setting. The program is new, and so far has been well-received.
3. Regarding data, our behavioral health system operates on a state fiscal year (July 1 – June 30), so our current fiscal year concludes on June 30th. We’ll be better able to look at comparative data after the fiscal year end; however preliminary data indicates consistent service utilization between SFY2020 and SFY 2021. That said, we do anticipate that, as COVID restrictions are lifted and individuals/families begin to reintegrate into the community, we will likely see an increase in demand for behavioral health services.
4. I am attaching 2 reports – prevention services and suicide data – that you may find beneficial.
A big “thank-you” to Kim Fraser, Executive Director, for her honesty, transparency, and timeliness in answering our questions.
Our next step was to analyze the statistics received from the Lake County Coroner’s office regarding suicides and illegal drug use and report our findings to the Lake County Commissioners. Stay tuned for our next article.