Help the We Care People Pass the Levy


We’ve been talking a lot about the levy recently.  That just goes to show how important it is.  On November 5, voters will have the opportunity to support the proposed levy for the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board for Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin counties. 
There is a strong need for mental health care in our communities.  Addiction is becoming more and more prevalent, for one thing, and the funds available to help those fighting addiction is decreasing.  That cannot continue if we want to help those in need of help the best we possibly can.

It is not necessarily addiction, however, that we need to address and help to improve.  Overall mental health is something the passing of this levy will focus on.  Whether you know it or not, chances are that someone in your life is struggling in some way, either with addiction, or an issue with mental health.  The reason you might not know about it is because our society is not yet fully comfortable with this issue.  There is still a stigma associated with mental health, and the MHRSB (We Care People) is attempting to erase that stigma.  Passing this levy, which will provide more funding, which in turn will provide more people with adequate treatment, will help to get rid of the stigma society has placed on mental illness.  The more people ask for help, the more the stigma disappears.  And the only way to help those who ask for help is to have enough funding to be able to help everyone.  That, in turn, produces better citizens and a better society.

SAFY (Safe Alternatives for Families and Youths) is a non-profit organization providing services for children and youth, and adults in some cases.  SAFY utilizes proven, evidence-based programming and offers, just to name a couple, substance abuse counseling and group counseling.  The more funding the MHRSB receives, the more people SAFY can help.  Diane Gable, director at SAFY, said of the levy’s passing, “We would be able to touch the lives of many instead of the few that present themselves to our mental health offices. Everyone has been touched by mental illness in some way, shape, or form, and it is important for people to know that there is help and it is manageable as well as preventable.”

Another valuable resource for children and adults alike, is PAX.  This is a research-based, proven classroom management structure involving kids “competing against” each other to earn rewards by refraining from class disruptions, inattention, or aggressive behavior.  Twenty studies have shown that classrooms that have implemented PAX reduced classroom disruptions 50-90%, and longitudinal studies show that children who have been involved with PAX are less likely, down the road, to demonstrate violent behavior or engage in drug use.  With the passing of this levy, more classrooms can be equipped with PAX.

Sara Dieringer, who is a PAX coach for grades K-12 in the St. Marys school district, said of the levy, “Well, the levy is important to me because it will allow expansion of programs in schools, including PAX. Obviously it's different for everyone, but I think we can all agree that with the passing of the levy more people will get services they need to address their mental health or substance abuse issues. PAX has proven to be beneficial to teachers and students in a short period of time. In the classrooms I'm involved with I have already seen less disruptions which allows for more teaching time. PAX brings out the best in the kids, and peer relations are improving. 

The passing of the levy means something different to everyone.  The one common thread, however, is that it will improve the lives of many.  Drastically.  Please help us care by voting to pass the levy on November 5.