Behavioral Health

RecoveryOhio and Suicide Prevention: Ohio’s new agenda for behavioral health

May 13, 2024
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Behavioral health has been a significant focus of the DeWine Administration, with current efforts underway to understand the root causes of adverse behavioral health. The DeWine Administration has also used ARPA funds to develop projects that will strengthen treatment of substance use disorders and mental health crisis services across Ohio.

Addiction and treatment services have been of focus through a variety of programming and statewide coordinated efforts, including the Department of Health’s Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone), the legalization of fentanyl teststrips in Senate Bill 288 of the 134th General Assembly, and Ohio’s concurrence with federally allowed flexibilities for opioid treatment programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addiction and treatment services have been of focus through a variety of programming and statewide coordinated efforts.

Two recent areas of state level activity in behavioral health are the release of the Suicide Prevention Coalition’s Suicide Prevention Plan for 2024-26, and the RecoveryOhio 2024-2027 Strategic Plan. Below are some of the high-level areas of action the plans detailed, and their implications for behavioral health across the state.

Community Solutions on behavioral health and contextual information on both plans

Earlier research at Community Solutions on behavioral health focused on the 988 Lifeline, and budget priorities for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS) as the state budget for FY2024-2026 passed through the legislature. We have also written on remote opioid treatment and work in the OneOhio Recovery Foundation.

Each plan provides a roadmap for separate entities. The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation and RecoveryOhio—while focused on several aspects of behavioral health, suicide prevention and substance use disorders, respectively—share many overarching similarities. Both have prioritized community systems, prevention, data, and quality evidence-based practices.

 OhioSuicide Prevention Foundation Plan

 The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation has strategic priorities for suicide prevention which are achieved through four goals. The strategic priorities are:

  1. Community systems: Constructing suicide prevention infrastructure within state and local organizations and communities.
  2. Prevention and early intervention: Improving coordination of action across multiple sectors and settings within the lifespan and bolstering organizational ability for preventing suicide.
  3. Quality treatment and post-vention: Spreading strategies capable of improving high quality suicide care and support services by positioning efforts in tandem with the Zero Suicide framework.
  4. Data and evaluation: Constructing evaluation and data capacity amongst private and public partners at the local and state level.

Each of these groups focus on work meant to support behavioral health needs, increase community capacity to sustain effective prevention strategies, treatment methods to improve support services for behavioral health, and strengthen evaluation practices. Implementation of the suicide prevention plan will occur with a statewide Advisory Team and leaders from five sector groups and meet regularly over three years to monitor the progress of the suicide prevention plan. The five groups are healthcare providers, policymakers/funders, healthcare payors, community serving organizations, schools, and other stakeholders (e.g.,faith communities, employers, community members).

The RecoveryOhio Strategic Plan 2024-2027 is the strategic roadmap for the next three years.

RecoveryOhio Strategic Plan

RecoveryOhio is an initiative of Governor DeWine that aims to coordinate the work of state departments, boards, and commissions in the administration of mental health and substance use treatment and prevention efforts. The RecoveryOhio Strategic Plan 2024-2027 is the strategic roadmap for the next three years that embodies the organization’s shared vision for supporting those affected by substance use disorders and other mental health challenges. The plan highlights the work RecoveryOhio has engaged in thus far and splits it into three phases. Phase 1, entitled Engage and Discovery, focused on hearing from the stakeholder community. This included over 100 unique interactions with organizations through one-on-one interviews, small group workshops, and surveys.

Phase 1: Engage and Discovery

Phase 2: Analysis

Phase 3: Implementation Planning

Using the information gathered during Phase 1, RecoveryOhio transitioned into Phase 2: Analysis. This phase focused on analyzing, researching, and conducting interactive workshops to identify and prioritize the strategic initiatives best fit for RecoveryOhio that deliver measurable outcomes. Throughout this phase, ten opportunity areas and 30 current initiatives were examined.

Phase 3: Implementation Planning. Leaving Phase 2, RecoveryOhio moved into Phase 3: Implementation Planning. This is where the selected sequenced and prioritized strategic initiatives emerged. The seven strategic initiatives include areas where RecoveryOhio will be creating new or improving existing resources.

  1. Establish an Advisory Council governance model.
  2. Create and promote a continuum of care information portal.
  3. Develop predictive analytics with toxicology data dashboard.
  4. Develop a statewide data reporting dashboard.
  5. Establish field data collection standards.
  6. Create and provide statewide access toa prevention education and resource Toolkit.
  7. Deliver prevention programming for youth and family.

The seven strategic initiatives will work to expand or improve prevention and education, access to treatment and recovery services, supporting communities, advancing recovery-oriented systems of care, or advocating for evidence-based policies and systemic changes across the state of Ohio.

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While these plans continue the progress the state of Ohio has made in improving behavioral health outcomes for Ohioans, it is imperative that the respective organizations follow through with implementation. The Center for Community Solutions will report on the progress that is made with respect to each individual plan and continue to advocate for a more robust, equitable behavioral healthcare system that provides better outcomes for everyone. In the coming weeks Community Solutions will be releasing more pieces delving into the finer details of each plan.

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