Scioto Gives profiles: Community Partners of Shawnee Mental Health Center

By Ryan Ottney

October 13, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

The Scioto Foundation will offer Scioto County participating nonprofit organizations (NPOs) a new opportunity to raise money for their endowment funds when it sponsors “Scioto Gives,” a one-day matching gift program on Oct. 24, 2013.

Scioto Gives will establish a new partnership between local NPOs and the Scioto Foundation as it assists the nonprofits with their annual membership drives and helps smaller, grass roots NPOs accept online gifts. To implement the new idea, the Scioto Foundation has set aside $20,000 to use as matching money for 2013.

Contributions from donors will be received on the Scioto Foundation website, www.sciotogives.org from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 24. Donors can also drop checks off at the Foundation office at 303 Chillicothe St., in Portsmouth, or transfer stocks between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the designated day.

Sixteen non-profit organizations are participating in the campaign, and each week the Daily Times will profile some of them here.

Community Partners of Shawnee Mental Health Center, Inc.

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect individuals of any age, sex, race, or social/economic status. One out of every four Americans will experience a mental health problem each year.

Shawnee Mental Health Center, Inc. (SMHC) has been part of the community for 40 years – providing services to the adults and children whose lives have been touched by mental illness. In fiscal year 2013, over 5,000 people came to SMHC when they needed help. The organization provided, and continue to provide counseling, medication services, case management, crisis intervention, therapeutic foster care services, respite care and now we provide primary care services.

According to SMHC, they are the area’s first Health Home for people with serious mental illness. But neighbors, friends and families, who have been affected by mental illness, and live in poverty, often need more. They need help with housing or transportation, and our youth need structured summer programs designed to elevate their self esteem and re-direct problematic behaviors, and even shoes and socks for school.

“Unfortunately, public funding, which covers basic mental health services, does not provide funding for these other needed items and activities that enable a person to lead a higher quality life,” Cynthia Holstein, Shawnee’s CEO said. “Public mental health funding has been decreasing and less money has been available to provide just the basic services.”

People without insurance, Medicaid or Medicare do not have any means to meet their mental healthcare needs. SMHC has responded to this potential mental health care crisis by creating Community Partners of SMHC, Inc., a non-profit organization, incorporated in December 2001, to serve the residents in Adams, Lawrence and Scioto Counties who struggle to cope with the effects and stigma associated with severe mental illness. Over the last three years, Community Partners has helped over 550 people get to medical appointments; has supported therapeutic activities for 750 kids and has provided respite care support for over 300 emotionally disturbed kids.

Community Partners (CP) is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with behavioral health care needs by raising and granting funds to support these communities. CP has no paid staff; all fundraising and grant making is done by a volunteer board of directors. CP serve people from among the lowest socio-economic levels in three of Ohio’s poorest counties: Adams, Scioto and Lawrence. Community Partners raises funds to help people impacted with mental illness lead more enjoyable and comfortable lives. This includes funding specialized activities (e.g. summer programs for youth) and providing basic living items (school supplies, interview clothing, transportation vouchers, housing expenses, etc).

SMHC’s have established endowments with the Scioto Foundation (Portsmouth) and the Foundation for the Tri-State Community (Ashland, Ky.). Their vision is that these endowments will offer financial stability for the mental health center during “tough times” and provide funding for items, services and/or activities that will enhance the lives of the clients.

According to Holstein, members of our community can help these endowments grow by making a contribution during the Scioto Foundation’s Scioto Gives campaign on Oct. 24. Your contribution will be matched by funds from the Scioto Foundation and will help put Community Partners in a better position to help supplement mental health services and activities, and in turn, create a stronger, mentally healthy community.

A strong community needs more than just a great community mental health center, it needs Community Partners, who will work together to better meet the needs of its children and adults struggling with mental illness. We appreciate any donation you can make.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.