Akron, OH- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has granted Akron-based Portage Path Behavioral Health $2,342,500 of federal funds over the next two years. These funds will enhance access to mental health and addiction services for lower income people, racial minorities, people in the LGBTQ+ community, and other disadvantaged and traditionally underserved people in Summit County. This grant will bolster existing efforts to provide client-centered, culturally appropriate services to those in the most need in Summit County.
The project, called “Here for You” will include a significant and ongoing community education effort designed to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health and addiction treatment, to let county residents know of the resources that are here for them, and to encourage early treatment. Public meetings, virtual presentations, outreach to disadvantaged communities, and other educational activities will be announced over the course of the coming months.
Beyond education and stigma reduction, plans include working with community partners to co-locate mental health services including counseling, case management, enhanced telehealth capabilities, and peer support, in places where they are readily accessible to vulnerable populations. Portage Path will also create a 24-hour living room style drop-in center staffed by Certified Peer Support Specialists. This will provide a safe place for police and other emergency responders to take residents that are in crisis but do not meet the criteria for emergency room admission, and who might otherwise be taken to jail. The drop-in center is expected to divert people from the criminal justice system and result in the most vulnerable in our community getting quality care sooner and more economically.
As a non-profit community mental health center, Portage Path Behavioral Health’s teams of welcoming professionals have served Akron and Summit County for 50 years, with a vision of Quality Behavioral Healthcare for All, and a mission to guide local people on the path to recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders, empowering them to rebuild their lives and restore their hope.