DeWine takes step to better Ohio mental health treatments

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is getting to work on a new group that he said will work to better the state’s mental health systems.

“The work we are doing together is helping more and more people, but we certainly have more work to do,” DeWine said.

More than a dozen bills hope to relieve Ohio property taxes

Addressing mental health care shortfalls is something DeWine has talked about several times during his tenure as governor.

“We’re ready to get stuff done with all of our people out in the fields,” former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton said.

The governor previewed the new working group Tuesday afternoon after he said he thought of putting it together earlier that day. He said it will have judges, mental health experts and law enforcement officials on it.

DeWine said one example of what the group will do is look at things like how often sheriffs are dealing with people who have significant mental health challenges.

Gov. DeWine readies rules to limit gender-affirming care for trans minors

DeWine said that right now, 93% of beds in the state’s psychiatric hospitals are being occupied by people in the criminal justice system, sometimes for months at a time. He added that is creating a problem for other Ohioans who don’t have the means to get private help and are not in the criminal justice system. DeWine said they are being told they have to wait.

“There’s no room there,” he said. “There’s no room in the hospital for you. That’s an outrage and we have to do something about it.”

DeWine said he still wants to be sure to take care of people in the criminal justice system who need mental health attention, but said the working group will look at the best pathways for that.

“We know the courts need to be able to put that person somewhere, but our state hospitals probably are not the most appropriate place for some of them to be,” he said.

Democratic ‘anti-corruption’ bills related to HB6 scandal met with pushback

DeWine said that while the new working group has a big task, he thinks the work they are setting out to do can be effective in multiple ways.

“We know that we can save lives, we know that we can save a ton of money if we reach people early enough,” DeWine said. “If they can get treatment early — by early, that means within the first six months, first year — the chance of them being able to live a better life goes up dramatically.”

DeWine said the official announcement about the working group will come soon. He said the goal of the group will be to put together recommendations that they can bring back to the statehouse for lawmakers to work to enact.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to NBC4 WCMH-TV.