The MHARS Board of Lorain County welcomes our new Program Officer, Lauren Cieslak. She will be working under the Children and Adolescent Services Director on the Community Services team.
Lauren has worked passionately in direct mental health services for 11 years. Most recently, six of those years were spent in Lorain County. Lauren is a Board Certified Art Therapist as well as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Supervisor. She is currently a professor at Ursuline College where she teaches practicum and internship students in the double master’s program, of which she is also an alumna. Previously, Lauren was a mental health therapist at The Nord Center where she led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Trauma Informed Care initiatives. Lauren is a founding member of two community nonprofits: The Lorain County LGBTQ+ Taskforce and Public Art Vermilion. Earlier in her career, Lauren worked at The Emily Program, The Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Westside Community House. Lauren has a BA in Human Development and Family Studies from Kent State University, and a double masters in Art Therapy and Counseling from Ursuline College.
Interested in employment opportunities at the MHARS Board? Visit HERE for more information and available positions.Learn More
The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County partnered with local law enforcement and various community organizations to collect 4,381.6 pounds of drugs, including opioids, at National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 23. The Fall 2021 total surpasses the 3,883.7 pounds collected at the last Lorain County Drug Take Back event in April 2021.
“Lorain County continues to see the adverse effects of improper opioid use that lead to addiction,” said Michael Doud, MHARS Board Executive Director. “We can all do our part to curb substance use disorder by safely disposing of prescription drugs that could potentially be abused. I thank the many residents, volunteers and public safety personnel who made this event a success.”
Here is a breakdown of how much was collected throughout Lorain County by location:
|Amherst Police Department||502|
|Avon Police Department||500|
|Avon Lake Police Department||225.6|
|Columbia Fire Department||76.4|
|Elyria Police Department||206|
|Grafton Police Department||177.8|
|Kipton Police Department||42.6|
|LaGrange Police Department||138.4|
|Lorain Police Department||276|
|Lorain County Sheriff||1150|
|North Ridgeville Police Department||361.8|
|Oberlin Police Department||425.4|
|Sheffield Lake Police Department||55.8|
|Sheffield Village Police Department||74.2|
|Vermilion Police Department||27|
|Wellington Police Department||142.6|
Residents who were unable to drop off on Drug Take Back Day may still bring their unused prescriptions for safe disposal to local police departments. All Lorain County police departments have receptacles for drop-off in their lobbies.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is led nationally by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
For more information about addiction, treatment and recovery, visit www.mharslc.org/recovery.Learn More
The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County is supporting the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 23 across Lorain County. In April 2021, Lorain County Drug Take Back events resulted in the collection of 3,883.7 pounds of prescription drugs.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers will provide free locking medication safes and other drug safety resources across the county at the locations noted below with an asterisk. At the locations listed without an asterisk, visitors can drop off their medications with law enforcement officers or other personnel for disposal. All are encouraged to clean out their medicine cabinets of potentially harmful drugs by safely disposing of them at this free, confidential annual event. The effort is led nationally by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Locations in Lorain County include:
- Amherst Police Department* at 911 North Lake St. 44001
- Avon Lake Police Department at 32855 Walker Rd. 44012
- Avon Police Department at 36145 Detroit Rd. 44011
- Columbia Township Fire Department at 25540 Royalton Rd. 44028
- Elyria Police Department * 18 West Ave. 44035
- Grafton Police Department* at 1009 Chestnut St. 44044
- Kipton Police Department* at 299 State St. 44049
- LaGrange Police Department at 301 Liberty St. 44050
- Lorain County Sheriff’s Office* at 9896 Murray Ridge Rd. 44035
- Lorain Police Department * at 200 West Erie Ave. 44052
- North Ridgeville Department* at 7303 Avon-Belden Rd. 44039
- Oberlin Police Department at 85 South Main St. 44074
- Sheffield Lake Police Department * at 609 Harris Rd. 44054
- Sheffield Village Police Department at 4340 Colorado Ave. 44054
- Vermilion Police Department* at 5791 Liberty Ave. 44089
- Wellington Police Department* at 117 Willard Memorial Square 44090
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.Learn More
New board of director members have been appointed to the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County. Two members were appointed this week to the Board and one was reappointed earlier this month. More info about them and the appointing authority is below.
- Hope Moon (Lorain) – Moon was reappointed to serve on the MHARS Board of Lorain County in September 2021. She was appointed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Moon is currently a Professor of Nursing at Lorain County Community College, and is a resident of Lorain. As an educator, her focus is to appropriately educate the workforce on addiction and mental health issues. She served as a nurse in the emergency department of the former St. Joseph/Lorain Community Hospital. Moon earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Kent State University, a Master of Science from School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, and ultimately, a Doctoral of Nursing Practice in Educational Leadership.
- Patricia Bell (Oberlin) – Bell was appointed by the Lorain County Commissioners to serve on the MHARS Board of Directors in September 2021. She was sworn in on September 28 at the board of directors scheduled meeting. Bell has nearly 20 years of experience working in the fields of mental health and addiction and is a registered nurse. She holds an associate degree from Lorain County Community College.
- Michele Flanagan (Avon Lake) – Flanagan was appointed by the Lorain County Commissioners to serve on the MHARS Board of Directors in September 2021. She was sworn in on September 28 at the board of directors scheduled meeting. She is a partner at the Westlake-based Comprehensive Behavioral Specialists LLC. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a therapist working throughout Northeast Ohio. Flanagan is a licensed social worker and professional clinical counselor. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Westminster College in Pennsylvania and her Master of Arts from the University of Akron.
“Our new board members bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge,” said Board President Dan Urbin. “I welcome them to the MHARS Board of Directors and look forward to working with them.”
Anyone interested in a board position should complete the application by clicking here. More information about requirements and about serving on the board is available by clicking here.Learn More
The Mental Health, Addiction & Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a project manager/owner representative for the Lorain County Crisis Receiving Center. To view the full RFQ, click here.
Respondents interested in being considered may submit questions by 5 p.m. on Friday, October 8, 2021. On or before 5 p.m. on Friday, October 22, 2021, Respondent shall deliver by mail or in person any qualifications, along with all materials and other items supporting any proposals, to the MHARS Board offices at 1173 North Ridge Rd. E, Lorain, OH 44055. If submitting materials in person, they must be delivered during normal business hours, Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Proposals received after this deadline will not be considered.
All proposals are to be prepared at the submitter’s expense. The MHARS Board reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals, in whole or part, and accept any proposal which it deems favorable. The MHARS Board shall have no liability to any submitter whose proposal is not accepted. Acceptance of a proposal shall not constitute an Agreement between the submitter and the MHARS Board until a contract is negotiated between both parties.Learn More
Talking about suicide can be difficult, for the person experiencing suicidal thoughts, or their concerned friend or family member. In fact, the difficulty is so great that people who are considering suicide often speak in “coded messages.” They might make indirect statements like, “You won’t have to worry about me much longer,” or “Everyone would be better off without me.”
QPR, which stands for Question Persuade Refer, teaches people to recognize suicide communications and actions, intervene safely and confidently, and connect the person in need to the right help. It takes abut 90 minutes to learn, and can help you save a life. Join us for this important virtual Zoom training on Sept. 30, 2021 from 9-10:30 a.m.Learn More
We often miss, overlook or underestimate the impact of a person’s struggle with addiction and their intimate connection or lack thereof that the person has with their family. How the family responds, communicates, and intervenes can change the entire family system and have long-lasting effects from generation to generation. This National Recovery Month workshop will explore family dynamics in addiction recovery and revealed tools and supports to help the family reach recovery together.
Join us for this free virtual training on Sept. 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Register on Eventbrite by clicking here and the event info will be sent via email with confirmation.
- Examine intervention models that assist the family in changing their response to their loved one’s disease.
- Identify recovery supports for families and the importance of making sure the family gets the help they need.
- List the needs of the addicted family system and the family roles that develop due to those unmet needs.
- Formulate an individual advocacy strategy to assist families in recovery in Lorain County, Ohio.
How Addiction Affects the Family -53 minutes
- Defining addiction
- Case study of Sam’s family
- Codependence and what is really going on in the family
- Closer look at family roles
Trauma and Addiction- 7 minutes
- Fight -Flight Response: Survival Brain States
- Three Family Rules
- The Johnson Institute Model
- Love First Intervention
- The Community Reinforcement and Family (CRAFT) Training MODEL
Family Recovery Supports -30 minutes
- Support groups
- Family counseling
- Family education
- Peer Parent Coaching
- Recovery planning
Advocacy Strategies to Assist Families in Recovery -20 minutes
- Professionals support families
- Community support families
- Words Matter: Reducing Stigma
- Individual advocacy strategy
Questions & Evaluation
About the Presenter
Tonya Birney, MS, LPC, LICDC, OCPC, is the Dissemination and Implementation Director of Prevention Services for the Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Services Board of Lorain County. Birney earned her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Walden University. She is a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor, Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant, Licensed Professional Counselor and a trainer for multiple programs. In a previous role, she provided administrative oversite and supervision for behavioral health and public health, including alcohol and drug outpatient treatment, behavioral health prevention, and harm reduction services. Birney resides in Grafton, Ohio.Learn More
As part of a statewide show of gratitude to front-line workers who confront the opioid epidemic, the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board is leading Lorain County’s efforts for the First Responders Week of Appreciation, September 20-26.
The National Institutes of Health called the opioid epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic a “collision of public health crises.”
The statewide team identifies children’s services workers, EMTs, emergency department staff, 9-1-1 dispatchers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, behavioral health workers, and “anyone else who may experience burnout or secondary trauma as a result of their work with individuals with addiction” during the Week of Appreciation.
The MHARS Board supports successful interactions between first responders and members of the community who are in distress by offering trainings on solving challenges related to mental illness and substance abuse. The MHARS Board also funds Quick Response Teams of a police officer and behavioral health clinician to visit overdose survivors with the goal of engaging individuals to seek treatment, and funds mobile response teams to support crisis calls throughout Lorain County. Local Week of Appreciation efforts are sponsored by the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
To learn more about how to help a loved one in active addiction or recovery, visit mharslc.org/recovery. The Addiction Helpline is available at 440-989-4900. To view photos, visit our Facebook page throughout the week at www.facebook.com/mharslc.Learn More
Approximately 200 people filled Lakeview Terrace on August 31 to remember those whose lives were lost to accidental overdose in Lorain County. In 2020, 138 lives were tragically lost to accidental overdose. The families of those whose lives were lost as well as those in recovery spoke about their experiences. Several partners from the Lorain County Opioid Action Team provided resources.
Leading up to the event, a number of locations around Lorain County displayed 138 flags and signage in memory of the 138 lives lost in 2020 due to accidental overdose. On August 31, employees at the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services Board of Lorain County dressed in purple in honor of the lives lost. The Lorain County vigil was one of hundreds that were held around the world on August 31 for International Overdose Awareness Day.
Below are some scenes from the event.
The Lorain County Board of Commissioners voted today to allocate $4 million for a crisis stabilization center aimed at helping those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
“The $4 million in funding from Lorain County matches $4 million previously allocated by the Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County for a crisis center,” said County Commissioner Michelle Hung. “The facility would help divert those struggling with addiction and mental health issues from the criminal justice system to get the help they need and ease the burden on law enforcement to deal with these medical issues in the midst of their day-to-day work in ensuring public safety.”
Commissioner Matt Lundy added, “A crisis stabilization center is not just a game-changer, it’s a life saver, and it’s critical to our local economy. Instead of flooding our courts and jails, we can dedicate ourselves to putting people back to work and most importantly back with their families. This is one of the most important decisions and investments this board will ever make to change lives in our county.”
The Lorain County facility will offer 32 beds, 16 for those struggling with mental health issues and 16 for those seeking help for addiction. It will be staffed by medical professionals specializing in addiction and mental health. The $4 million allocated from the County Commissioners is funded by dollars from Lorain County’s recent opioid settlement and from The American Rescue Plan.
“When a person experiences an addiction or mental health crisis, it may not always be clear to them, their loved ones and law enforcement how to handle these specialized medical issues,” said MHARS Board Executive Director Michael Doud. “This crisis center is a front door to access services in our community. It is an investment in modernizing the level of care we are able to provide Lorain County residents struggling with addiction and mental health issues.”
Today’s vote was preceded by a presentation to the Board of Commissioners from Executive Director Doud, The Nord Center’s CEO Don Schiffbauer, The LCADA Way’s President & CEO Dan Haight and MHARS Board of Directors President Dan Urbin.
Urbin, who shared with the Board of Commissioners the story of his road to recovery added, “My passion has been to help others who seek a life of recovery from their disease. Living a life of sobriety for me is best defined by being ‘considerate and understanding.’ We are pleased with the Commissioners’ decision to fund this important and long-awaited facility here in Lorain County. To have a crisis center in Lorain County would indeed be very considerate and, without a doubt, very understanding.”Learn More