Since 2020, numerous local and state mental health organizations in Ohio have declared racism a public health crisis. Over the past three years, politicians have drastically cut funding for valuable mental health care services in Ohio. That’s a problem.
Ohio County Cuts in Mental Health Care Services
Many mental health and drug and alcohol treatment programs in the U.S. receive funding through local levies and State and Federal funding. Throughout 2000–2022, Franklin County Ohio, where the State Capital of Columbus sets, received millions of dollars in funding from various sources.
Despite garnering funds through some major headline-grabbing infusions of cash, the Franklin County Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Board closed the only 24-hour walk-in mental health treatment center in the county in November, 2022.
NetCare Access is piloting a program with social workers chosen specifically from “community health centers.” The program will also use cops to sometimes respond to crisis calls (during specific hours). NetCare Access is broadening the hours during which social workers respond to mental health crises calls. However, 911 still routes the calls, which can involve police.
The problem is Ohio has funding for mental health care. But Ohio politicians aren’t using those funds in a safe way that actually improves mental health for residents.
Statewide Legislative Attacks on Licensed Professionals
Recently, the NASW Ohio Chapter alerted the public to Ohio HB 509. This bill extends “social worker” tasks to people who aren’t licensed social workers.
Sarah Fowler-Arthur (R-Ashtabula) sponsors this bill. Fowler-Arthur is a homeschool graduate and local Third Reich enthusiast. She made international news this year, proposing a disturbing addition to public school curriculums.
‘Well, obviously the German government was right in saying that the Aryan race is superior to all other races, and therefore that they were acting rightly when they murdered hundreds of thousands of people for having a different color of skin,’”
I’ve written before that Ohio House Bills 454 and 616 are unnecessary government intrusion. Both cut into citizen’s access to valuable mental health, education, and medical care. Ohio House Bill 509 is just as dangerous as other Republican-introduced bills. In late 2022, Sarah Fowler Arthur introduced an amendment to HB 509 that would allow for hires in the role of social workers, without a degree in social work.
Direct Action Will Preserve Our Mental Health Care
Fortunately, direct action from NASW Ohio stopped this horrific piece of legislation from being included in HB 509. This protects the rights of Ohio social workers. Ohio Residents DESERVE adequate public mental health care funding and resources. It’s up to us to stay on top of power-crazed politicians, who don’t respect equality. It’s up to us to support organizations that advocate for our liberties, and safety.