City of New Phila & CMH Announce Collaboration

New Philadelphia’s Office of the Mayor, the New Philadelphia Police Department, and Community Mental Healthcare, Inc. (CMH) are launching a new and exciting initiative to more effectively aid those individuals struggling with substance abuse and homelessness.

According to New Philadelphia Mayor, Joel Day, “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a resurgence of illegal substance abuse in our city which is, again, leading to a rise in overdose deaths. This is a trend we cannot allow to continue.” Mayor Day also noted how this trend has led to an increased number of individuals finding themselves in a situation of homelessness.

New Philadelphia Police Chief, Michael Goodwin, identified, “we are seeing a rise in the number of calls directly related to substance abuse and/or behavioral health issues. Unfortunately, our officers, or first responders, are having the initial contact with individuals who are in dire need of services or supports.”

JJ Boroski, Executive Director of CMH, stated, “individuals and families of those individuals who are battling a substance abuse issue or a behavioral health disorder need to have quick and timely access to services that promote recovery.” Mr. Boroski noted that, at times, initial appointment times for services may extend out days or even weeks. “We know this is something we must overcome and get the services and supports to individuals when they need them.”

As a result of Mayor Day’s call to action, Mr. Boroski reached out to the Mayor to begin developing a plan of action. According to Mr. Boroski, “the issues we are facing are not unique to New Philadelphia and what we are seeing across our country and throughout Ohio is a greater collaboration between law enforcement and behavioral health professionals.” Along with Chief Goodwin, Mayor Day and Mr. Boroski developed a plan to embed a Crisis Intervention Counselor within the New Philadelphia Police Department.

The Crisis Intervention Counselor will work alongside the Officers in their office and in the community providing immediate access to crisis intervention, pre-hospital screenings, and providing immediate linkage to needed services and supports.

“People who are truly struggling with substance abuse or a behavioral health disorder need help; they need treatment. We do not want to see people needlessly cycling in and out of our jails. This approach is exciting,” stated Goodwin.

Both Mayor Day and Mr. Boroski share Chief Goodwin’s enthusiasm for this approach. “We know we need to start doing things differently, thinking outside the box, to help people recover from these very tough issues, shared Mayor Day.

Mr. Boroski noted that CMH will be collecting data on the effectiveness of this approach and will make adjustments where indicated. This pilot program will utilize existing funding made available to CMH by the Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties. As a result, the city will not incur any costs associated with this initiative and neither will any community resident who accesses these services.

Community Mental Healthcare and Community Family Health Center offer comprehensive, integrated, and accessible healthcare services to all local residents, including behavioral health, substance abuse services, family medical, and dental.

With over 50 years of service to the community, Community Mental Healthcare, Inc. is headquartered at 201 Hospital Dr., Dover, Ohio 44622. CMH also has offices in New Philadelphia and Carrollton. The organization offers behavioral health, substance abuse, crisis, primary care and dental services. Community Mental Healthcare services are partially funded, in whole or in part, by the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties and the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA). For more information about Community Mental Healthcare or the health center, visit www.cmhdover.org or call 330-343-6631.