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Combined Boards Provide Better Care to More Clients More Efficiently

Stark County Community Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Services Boards Merge

CANTON, Ohio, Dec. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two county boards have merged effective January 1, 2008. The Stark County Community Mental Health Board and the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Stark County are now a single entity, known as the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County.

"The combined Board will create a stronger advocate for people with mental health and addiction problems than the two boards could independently," said Dan McMasters, Board president.

The Board oversees and funds agencies in Stark County that provide prevention, intervention, and treatment services for mental health and substance abuse. The board is responsible for assessing the needs of the community and ensuring that a comprehensive continuum of care is in place.

"We had investigated providing additional treatment opportunities but hesitated due to the need to go to two different boards for funding," said Dan Fuline, Executive Director, Community Services of Stark County. "Now we can serve more people because the combined board streamlines the process significantly."

Funding sources include the state and federal governments. A local tax levy also provides some funding for mental health services. On the alcohol and drug addiction side, a portion of the funding comes from a variety of organizations, including the County Commissioners, Veterans Commission, and the courts.

"By combining the Boards, our hope is to get people improved treatment access before they commit crimes. Treatment used as alternative sentencing can help reduce the jail population. It costs the taxpayers a lot less to provide treatment than it does to incarcerate," said Stark County Commissioner Tom Harmon.

In any given year, a network of 20 affiliated agencies provides more than 15,000 residents with mental health and substance abuse services, and more than 7,000 youth and adults with prevention programs, especially children and teens.

"We are a safety net for the community, providing services to people who could not access them due to a lack of resources," said John Aller, Executive Director. "The new Board makes it easier for our agencies to interact with us and it's proving to be more cost-effective for everyone."

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Stark County enriches lives through wellness and recovery by partnering with agencies that provide prevention, intervention, and treatment services for mental health and substance abuse.

SOURCE Stark County Community Mental Health Board
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