More than 70% of Franklin County voters approved a levy for the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH).
Officials estimate that the increased tax would generate about $81 million in revenue. Most of the funding will be used to maintain current services – as of 2018, about 135,000 people relied on ADAMH for mental health or addiction services, and they anticipate that number will only grow due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Erika Clark Jones of ADAMH says a big ticket item that both the organization and the city of Columbus are putting money towards is a new crisis center.
"The new crisis center brings together some of the best practices emerging from across the country with how to make our mental health services readily available to those that need it, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Clark Jones says.
The city dedicated $10 million to the center, which is expected to help at least 26,000 people in its first year.
Other investments may include housing for people struggling with mental illness, school-based prevention efforts and mobile response teams. Plus, ADAMH will give funding to their community-based treatment partners.
Clark Jones says some funding may be invested in medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs, which use medications in combination with counseling to help sustain recovery and prevent overdoses.
MAT is scientifically proven to help those suffering from opioid addiction – but only 55% of all rehabilitation facilities in Ohio offer it, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. About 90,000 Ohioans use MAT in a given year, and that number is growing.