YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In a year of unprecedented need, the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board saw its team, services and partnerships grow in 2021.
The board last year welcomed four new staff members: Valerie Burney, Lee DeVita, Tracey Moracco and Michelle Werth.
“As individuals retired over the years, we felt the timing was right to add these additional roles and experience to our staff,” says Duane Piccirilli, executive director.
The addition of DeVita as program coordinator allows the agency to train private group homes licensed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction to ensure quality care is provided to residents. The board also funded a group home liaison position to facilitate communication between group homes, residents and mental health providers.
Working with the Youngstown chapter of The Links Inc., the board established the Mental Health Studies Scholarship, which will distribute $5,000 each year to Black students pursuing a degree in social work at Youngstown State University.
“This new scholarship will allow us to help make a difference in not only the lives of students pursuing a career, but also the community they will eventually serve,” says Valerie Burney, community engagement and outreach coordinator.
In conjunction with NAMI Mahoning Valley, the board provides crisis intervention training for law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency services and individuals with mental illness and their families. Every police department in Mahoning County has at least one trained officer.
This year, the board plans to launch the Mahoning County Loss Team. This effort brings together faith-based leaders, grief support groups, first responders and individuals to support families experiencing the loss of loved ones to suicide or overdose.