Yet of 1.7 million Ohio adults reporting living with a mental illness in 2018, only 47 percent-- less than half-- said they received mental health services.
Efforts to improve mental healthcare in Ohio should also include help for drug and alcohol addiction. My oldest brother, Dave, struggled with bipolar disorder that went undiagnosed for far too long. His underlying mental illness led to an alcohol addiction that interfered with his relationships with family and friends, as well as his livelihood. It was five years ago this month that we lost him to addiction. It’s heartbreaking to consider that with the right diagnosis and intervention at a crucial time, he might still be alive today.
Physical and mental health are closely entwined with many diseases. If we treat both the physical and mental causes of disease, we’ll treat the whole problem, not just part of it.
Reducing the stigma and shame families feel in admitting a loved one needs mental healthcare is a start. Crucial are treatment options that are as affordable, reliable and easily attainable as primary medical healthcare.
As your state senator, I’ll work to give families the tools they need to support and care for loved ones who struggle with anxiety, depression and addiction. Good mental healthcare is needed in Ohio now more than ever.
Kathy Wyenandt is running for Ohio state senator in District 4, Butler County. To read about her stances on other important Ohio issues, visit www.kathyforohio.com.