Just as Ohio, under Republican Governor John Kasich, has lessons for Washington in how government can encourage economic growth, Ohio has a bold idea to deal with the problem of mentally unstable people killing lots lots of people: do something about mental health.
Ohio children and young adults facing mental health crises will be the focus of a $5 million intervention program established by Gov. John Kasich.
The money will be used by mental health and developmental disabilities agencies statewide to help defuse situations where a child poses a potential threat of violence to themselves, their family or others.
The Ohio program was in the works before the deadly Dec. 14 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults in Newton, Conn. But it was clearly on the minds of the governor and other officials in setting aside money to deal with volatile mental health situations before they make headlines.
“There are families that get themselves in a position where they have a young child or maybe even an adult child that have very serious problems, mental health problems,” Kasich said today after a press conference concerning expanded services for autistic children.
[Tracy Plouck,¸director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health] said she expects the money to be used over 18 months to help “youth who have circumstances related to their diagnoses who express threatening behavior toward their families and themselves.” The money could go for emergency treatment, medication, a residential program, or respite care for beleaguered parents, she said.
“This is a targeted intervention. This isn’t a sufficient resource to solve all problems in the world.”
Terry Russell, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio, said the money could be put to almost immediate use helping some of more than 1,000 individuals and families his agency is working with “who are in crisis and need relief.”
But rather than focus on mental illness and helping those who exhibit signs of violence and their families, the Obama administration is focused on those millions who lawfully and peacefully own guns—guns that have killed fewer innocent people than Ted Kennedy’s car or one of President Obama’s drone strikes.
It’s a different kind of madness.
Adam Lanza was not deterred by laws against his lawful possession of gun, against carrying guns within a school zone, nor against murder. But future atrocities like what happened at Sandy Hook might be prevented if more were done to assist those with mental illness who may pose a threat to themselves and society.