Mental health board passes $10.9 million budget


YOUNGSTOWN

The Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board unanimously approved a $10.9 million 2020 budget.

Officials said they’re expecting that budget could later include more state or regional allocations that have yet to be confirmed, as passage of the Ohio state budget just happened on Friday.

The board Monday evening awarded $9.6 million of that budget to 43 area providers that partner with the board, the top three being Compass Family and Community Services, which will receive about $3.7 million; Meridian HealthCare, $1.4 million; and Help Network of Northeast Ohio, $1.3 million.

With increased levy funding, the board is able to increase school-based mental health services, including 534 more mental health service hours in local schools and 203 more service hours for suicide prevention workers, said Duane Piccirilli, board executive director. The board can now offer those services at schools that didn’t receive them last year, including Youngstown’s ACLD School and Learning Center, East High School and Kirkmere and Paul C. Bunn elementaries, he said.

“Any prevention-type work is important,” said Brenda Heidinger, board associate director. “It allows us to reach children at a younger age in the schools. It allows us to help them better cope with life as it comes — hopefully catch them before they fall into any of those traps that we sometimes see in the media around suicides [during] those teenage years, which are tough enough to navigate with a good, solid background.”

Read MORE in Tuesday's VINDICATOR.

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