Our Beginings

A legacy of improving the mental health of Summit County Residents.

Our Beginnings

Community Mental Health Act of 1963 (CMHA) funding became available to create local mental health centers to treat mental illness beyond the walls of state mental hospitals.

In response to CMHA, in June 1968, leaders from Akron General Medical Center, Akron Children’s Hospital, Summit County Mental Hygiene Clinic and the Akron Child Guidance Center together incorporated Portage Path Community Health Center.


The Portage Path Community Mental Health Center (PPCMHC) was founded by the Akron General Medical Center, Akron Children’s Hospital, Summit County Mental Hygiene Clinic and the Akron Child Guidance Center. Our first facility opened in 1971 at the corner of Wabash and Exchange streets in Akron.

From the start, PPCMHC services have included in-patient and outpatient care, around-the-clock emergency services and consulting/educational services for people in crisis.

PPCMHC was among the first of Ohio’s mental health agencies to offer group homes for patients, providing residential beds for people with mental illness.


PPCMHC became the first Summit County mental health facility to be certified under Ohio Senate Bill 90. We established the Work Club program to help people build vocational and social skills and establish careers. PPCMHC was the first organization to offer Section 125 rent subsidies for clients through the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Other highlights include:

  • New space for Barberton clinic
  • Partnership with suicide/crisis hotline
  • Near-tripling of patients from 1400 to 3500 after county reorganizes mental health services


PPCMHC receives certification from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Portage Path also leads the way in treatment of sex offenders with new support groups. Portage Path completes state-of-the-art crisis center for 24-hour emergency services to house Portage Path Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) and the Support Hotline.

PPCMHC changes its name to Portage Path Behavioral Health (PPBH).


Establishment of interactive diagnosis tools to more quickly identify and help people suffering from depression, alcoholism, anxiety, eating disorders and other conditions. PPBH opens onsite medication clinic for client convenience and to help PPBH monitor patient progress. Other  highlights include formation of the Customer Service department, resulting in 32% decrease in complaints.


Portage Path renewed its commitment to providing welcoming professional help to those in need. The Crossroads Dual Diagnosis program was added to effectively address the reality that many mental health clients also experience substance use disorders. Portage Path also made a renewed effort to educate the community about the dual public health crises of substance use disorders and increased suicide rates nationwide and in Summit County. To increase the resources available to meet its mission, Portage Path also began its first coordinated and sustained effort to raise private philanthropic funds.

Other highlights include:

  • Being awarded a grant from PEG’s Foundation to fund our Integrated Community Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Fellowship.
  • Establishing a new group (Crossroads) dedicated to helping clients manage dual diagnosis issues.
  • Continuing our popular Pathfinder events – monthly presentations from a Portage Path expert to the public about a behavioral health topic