Thursday, May 24, 2018 Elyria 63°
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Elections

Issue 4: Lorain County Board of Mental Health Renewal

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    Shana Bering, Early Childhood Mental Health Therapist and Instructor at the Incredible Years Program, speaks to students Jordan Fildes, 5, Kennedy Spishak, 4, and Mackenzie Morrow, 5, on Tuesday morning, April 17. The students are learning to navigate through emotion and conflict during class. The program, along with 5 other pre-school programs, is funded by the Board of Mental Health.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA - The Lorain County Board of Mental Health is asking voters to renew a 0.60-mill operating levy that accounts for much of its annual budget.

The levy would raise $3.6 million annually and would help fund the annual operating costs for the board.

Issue 4
What it is: A 0.60-mill renewal
Duration: Five years
How much would it raise: $3.6 million annually
Purpose: operating levy for Lorain County Mental Board of Health
Cost to homeowner: $16.32 per year for a $100,000 home

The board has an annual budget of about $11.5 million, and 85 percent of the funding for the budget comes from two levies, a 1.2-mill levy that was last renewed in 2014 for 10 years that generates $6.5 million, and the levy that will appear on the ballot May 8 as Issue 4, according to Lorain County Board of Mental Health Executive Director Kathleen Kern.

The board plans, funds and monitors a network of mental health services and agencies that provide help for the community. The board's network provides mental health services in schools, homes and community agencies and helps community members lead more self-sufficient and productive lives, Kern said.

The clinical services the board's partners provide serve roughly 12,000 people annually, along with 14,000 crisis calls, according to Kern.

Without passage of Issue 4, "the range and amount of mental health services available today would be severely cut," and the board would struggle to continue some existing treatment, house and care programs, she said.

Kern said a conservative estimate is that 20 percent of the population will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives. The most common diagnoses are depression and anxiety, but there are several others that affect county residents, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The levy was first passed in 1978, and county voters have supported the agency ever since.



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