A levy to continue funding for the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board will be on general election ballots throughout Highland County on Nov. 2 to allow the agency to provide its current level of support to people needing help for mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse disorders.
Passage of the property tax levy will not raise taxes, but will continue a levy that costs $2.50 per month per $100,000 of property value.
“We are very fortunate that we’ve had all three of your county commissioners and your sheriff endorse our levy this year,” said Paint Valley ADAMH Board Executive Director Penny Dehner.
As a political subdivision of state government, the Paint Valley ADAMH Board is one of 50 similar organizations throughout Ohio. The board covers five counties, including Highland, while some of the boards in more highly populated areas serve single counties.
The board is the regional planning and funding authority for mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse disorders in its region. Specifically, in Highland County, the board contracts with the Scioto Paint Valley Mental Health Center and Family Recovery Services (FMS) to provide treatment to those who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid and have little or no insurance.
“Some of the things that people don’t know about and think happen kind of seamlessly are all the crisis services we provide,” said Dehner. That includes assistance to the county’s schools and jails.
The levy generates an average of 56 percent of the budget for the Paint Valley ADAMH Board. State and federal dollars account for about $2.3 million annually, while the levy brings in about $4.8 million. More recently, grants have been able to procure about $2.9 million.
“It wasn’t until 2018 that we were even able to secure grants, and we think of it as a great investment that the levy allows us to have the one extra staff person who writes and secures these grants for services,” said Dehner. “That’s a great return on our investment.”
Dehner said that for the first time, all of the county commissioners in each of the agency’s five supported counties — Fayette, Highland, Pickaway, Pike and Ross — have endorsed the levy.
According to Dehner, the need for mental health and substance abuse services is greater than ever, and the anxiety and isolation brought on by COVID-19 has added to the demand. “We’re really trying to meet the need because it’s pretty bad right now for mental health,” she said. “We’ve had an increase in crisis services, and those numbers are through the roof.”
Each year, about 12,000 residents are served by the organization’s network of providers, and more than 10,000 youths utilize prevention services at schools.
The levy is put up for voter consideration every 10 years and has been supported for the last 50 years. “We sincerely appreciate the past support, and we thank you for that,” said Dehner.
“One in five Americans will experience a mental health illness in any given year, and it could be you or one of your loved ones who needs the services we provide,” she said. “We want to be there for you.”
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571