The Mental Health & Recovery Board welcomed three new members at the September meeting: Albert Barber, Joanne Frick, and Jennifer Schumm. The Board is comprised of 18 members, with 10 being commissioner appointments and 8 appointed through the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.
Kent resident Al Barber is a consulting pharmacist and has experience with the treatment of mental health and addiction patients. "Recently, I became active in the Portage County Substance Abuse Community Coalition and am working to educate providers and the public that Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a chronic disease that requires sustained treatment including medical, psychological, and spiritual modalities," stated Barber.
"We need to move the spending focus from incarceration to treatment. We need to increase funding for sustained treatment of SUD including Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in the same way we treat diabetes and hypertension with medications and behavioral interventions,” he continued. “If we really want to save lives and reduce crime and taxpayer burden, we need to provide MAT and other treatment modalities to all recovering addicts including those incarcerated in our county jail."
Ravenna resident Joanne Frick is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in a private practice. "My past experience in a corporate setting, and now as a counselor, gives me the necessary skills to objectively review funding requests and question expenditures," said Frick. "I believe everyone should have access to mental health services and as a Board member, I can help make that happen."
Jennifer Schumm resides in Kent and is currently employed with the Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities as a Service and Support Administrator. “Working and living in Portage county, I have seen how mental health and addiction issues can affect our everyday lives," said Schumm of her desire to serve on the Board. "I am looking forward to working to enhance the lives of community members and eliminate the stigma of mental illness and addiction."
“We welcome all three to our distinguished Board of Directors and look forward to their contributions in meeting the needs of Portage County residents with mental health and/or addiction issues” said Joel Mowrey, PhD, executive director of the Board.