Wood County seeking help to identify mental health and addiction in jail

Wood County seeking help to identify mental health and addiction in jail

WOOD COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - Inmates in Wood County could see extra funding headed their way for mental health and addictions.

Several county agencies are coming together for the benefit of the whole community.

Wood County officials admit they have d ropped the ball when it comes to identifying addiction and mental health inmates in order to get them the help they need, but they are looking to change that.

Statistics show that 60-70% of inmates in local jails have behavioral health disorders, but Wood County officials say they aren't identifying that many.

"Over three thousand people come through the Wood County Justice Center every year and we are identifying less than 100," said Chris Streidl, manager of clinical programs and quality improvement for the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board.

"We have to do a better job with that and although we have a lot of commitment from a lot of players and a lot of different community stakeholders we just haven't seen the results that we need to get to."

The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board is working with the Wood County Sheriff's Office and Northwest Community Corrections Center to receive federal funds to ramp up their identification of addiction and mental health in Wood County.

"People can give them brochures, we can talk, but it needs to be one-on-one," said Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn. "You can't just say it's available, we need to take some of them by the hand to get them to where they need to go to get that help."

The agencies are applying for two gr ants totaling around $800,000. Those will fund two positions to screen inmates as they come into the system as well as create a treatment program for when inmates leave jail.

"The name of the game is recidivism," said Streidl. "We don't want them back in the jail. We want to help people stay at home, we want to help people stay in their community and that's really what it's all about."

"Most of our burglaries that we've solved have been people that are addicts," said Sheriff Wasylyshyn. "A lot of our issues we have are people with mental health problems, we need to give them the help and then we get to not only improve their lives, which is wonderful, but it also makes it better for other people in the community."

The county agencies will submit their gr ant applications early next week. They expect results to follow in the fall.

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