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Governor DeWine prioritizes mental health in State of the State address

Source: Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services


On Tuesday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine delivered his 2023 State of the State Address, during which he spoke about the strength of the state and discussed the priorities that will be contained in his Fiscal Years 2024 and 2025 executive budget. Governor DeWine’s speech focused heavily on children, families, and mental health and highlighted his commitment to giving all Ohioans the tools needed to live up to their full, God-given potential. “We must face the fact that no Ohioan will ever fully live up to their potential or be able to lead purposeful and meaningful lives if their mental illness remains in the shadows and untreated,” Governor DeWine said. He later added, “We must not accept that mental illness and addiction are inevitable. Or that some of these illnesses can’t be prevented. Or that we have advanced treatment as far as it will go. Or that recovery is only for the few and the lucky. None of these things are true. What instead is true is that Ohioans know how to impact change.  Ohioans don’t wait for others to solve our problems…when we have a problem, we figure out solutions -- and then the rest of the world FOLLOWS Ohio!”

In laying out his vision for Ohio’s future, Governor DeWine noted that his SFY 2024-25 executive budget proposal aims to build on past progress by prioritizing investments in four key areas:

  • Building a community care system that increases prevention efforts;
  • Offering better crisis response services and expanded treatment options;
  • Growing Ohio’s behavioral health workforce; and
  • Focusing on much-needed research and innovation.

Specifically, the Governor noted his budget proposal includes growing investments to expand on what’s working to all 88 counties, including:

  • Treatment and counseling services delivered either in person or through telehealth visits to people directly in their homes and workplaces.
  • Suicide prevention to end the needless loss of our brothers and sisters.
  • Support for our youngest Ohioans, so they can have a great start to life and get help at the earliest sign of a behavioral health need.
  • Expansion of the crisis care system and the new 9-8-8 hotline so fewer Ohioans land in the emergency room. 
  • Increased access to state hospitals and private psychiatric hospitals to ease stress on families, emergency departments, courts, and jails.

Governor DeWine also called on members of the Ohio Legislature to create the “State of Ohio Action for Resiliency Network” or the SOAR Network. This effort will harness the talent of our citizens to deploy a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive, multi-year research study that includes Ohioans from all regions. Such a study will help policymakers understand the unique nature of mental health issues across Ohio’s urban, suburban, rural, and Appalachian communities to better determine which interventions work best in Ohio’s many diverse communities.

Related Resources

Watch a recording of the Governor’s address.

Read the Governor’s State of the State speech (as prepared).

Learn more about the Governor’s executive budget proposal on the OBM website.

Keep up with the latest budget-related news on the OhioMHAS Budget page.

Budget Overview Webinar: Feb. 7

As a reminder, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) Director Lori Criss will provide an overview of the Governor’s budget recommendations and their impact on Ohio’s behavioral health services system with a special stakeholder webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 3:30 p.m. Click HERE to join (Meeting ID: 266 998 307 151, Passcode: DU4o4y). To join via phone (audio only) call 614.721.2972 and enter Conference

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