More Money Sought for Mental Health Services

Mental health workers from Turning Point Counseling and Valley Counseling Services invited area leaders to a meeting Thursday, hoping to get their support for more funding for mental health services.

The workers believe the quality of service to the community is being compromised because of a lack of money.

“Tonight’s meeting is all about talking to our state representatives, our state senators, our county commissioners, about the funding source and how we can try to increase funding in mental health services,” said Anthony Caldwell, spokesperson for the SEIU District 1199.

Caldwell said recent funding cuts and lack of Medicaid expansion in the state legislature has caused a lot of concern for management and workers alike.
“We’ve had a lot of violent crimes in this community, but also around the country, and a lot of that can be linked to mental health.  And the best way to fight that is to increase funding so we can have better quality care,” Caldwell said.

“When you talk about good therapists, quality therapists bring quality of services to the community.  It’s really important to keep the money coming to us so we can serve everybody that has needs,” said Kris Flak, a therapist for Turning Point Counseling Services.

The group invited the elected officials to talk about the challenges they’re facing at the bargaining table with hopes the leaders can encourage the Mental Health Board to increase funding for both facilities.

“We surely just want to encourage that they sit down and negotiate a fair contract with the people that are employed there, because of the services that they provide and the importance of the services they provide,” said State Rep. Ron Gerberry, D-Austintown.

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