Program celebrates mental health

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Ronald Marian, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health Board, makes a point at the agency’s May is Mental Health Month Celebration and Awards Program.

By William K. Alcorn


No county mental-health boards in Ohio work better together than those in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties, a Mahoning mental-health official said.

“We’re doing as much as possible by pooling resources and teaming with government, business and schools and other agencies to maximize our dwindling resources to serve mentally ill people in the Mahoning Valley,” said Ronald A. Marian, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health Board.

For example, the Mahoning County Mental Health Board, Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board and Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board collaborated on the on-going “Stop the Judgment — Start the Healing” anti-stigma campaign aimed at combatting the myths and perception of mentally ill residents.

The campaign features people diagnosed with mental illnesses telling their stories on television spots and newspaper stories to help promote understanding and remove the stigma of having a mental illness.

“You can be proud of what we do,” Marian, in his 44th year as executive director of the agency, said at the agency’s May is Mental Health Month 2012 Annual Celebration and Awards Program.

Annual awards were also presented at the noon banquet Tuesday at the Holiday Inn here.

Pamela Price of Turning Point Counseling Services was recognized as Mental Health Advocate of the Year, given to the individual who best exemplifies advocacy on behalf of individuals struggling with mental-health issues.

Price, who has been with Turning Point for 25 years, is coordinator of the 18-bed Crisis Stabilization Unit at the agency.

Larry Moliterno, chief executive officer of Meridian Community Care, was named Director of the Year.

Moliterno, who is also a Boardman Township trustee, has been instrumental in the growth of the addiction-treatment organization.

Jack Gocala, retired chief of the Youngstown State University Police Department, received the Crisis Intervention Training Advocacy Award.

Before his retirement this year, he was an ardent supporter of the mental health board-funded CIT program, which educates and trains local police departments on nonviolent interventions for situations involving people with mental-health issues.

Atty. Griffith Thomas received the Volunteer Excellence Award for his more than 27 years of involvement with Compass Family and Community Services.

He was instrumental in the development of housing facilities operated by Compass and in helping those dealing with mental-health issues to find stable affordable housing options.

Craig Tareshawty, a local landlord, was given a special Housing Advocate Award for his commitment to working with the mental-health system to provide decent, affordable housing to consumers of the mental-health system.

Finding housing is one of the primary issues individuals dealing with mental-health issues face, said Toni M. Notaro, Mahoning County Mental Health Board administrative director.

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