Community rallies to save mental health services

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – After serving Lucas County for more than half a century, Rescue Mental Health & Addiction Services announced that it will close its doors later this month.

Today parishioners stood with Rescue staff to make one final plea to save the center.

“We do everything that needs to be done. Whether it’s people who come here. We’re going to their houses. We met people in hospitals. We want to make sure everyone in crisis knows that we are here to help, ”says Betsey Kastner, SEIU 1199’s executive delegate, representing workers at Rescue.

Rescue is the official mental health crisis provider in Lucas County. But that could change by the end of the month if Rescue plans to shut down permanently.

“Our service is important. The people who work here are important. The customers we serve are important, ”says Rescue employee Hunter Turner.

Lucas County’s Mental Health & Recovery Services Board (MHRSB) wanted to replace Rescue until the center sued to stop the process. Ongoing negotiations have failed and the center is set to close, but the community believes an agreement can still be reached.

“We want to make sure the community comes out and put a little pressure on both boards so they can get together. We believe this is something that can be resolved, ”said Bob Lynn Jr., the secretary of Toledo Area Jobs with Justice.

MHRSB issued a statement stating, “Rescue was offered a six month contract extension to ensure that our current emergency management system continues to operate while the good faith negotiations and the lawsuit they have filed continued. Rescue decided to close instead. “

Meanwhile, Rescue’s CEO also released a statement stating, “The board of directors has arbitrarily terminated funding for Rescue effective June 30th and forced its impending closure.”

But Carol Holmes is not looking for someone to blame. Her husband works at Rescue and could lose the job he needs to support their nonverbal son, Ryan. She also worries that the Rescue services won’t be there if she ever has a crisis with Ryan.

“The things he does that are normal to us could seem dangerous or aggressive to other people. And I could see him getting hurt in the wrong hands, ”says Holmes.

MHRSB says it is working on a plan to resume services and discontinue anyone laid off by the Rescue shutdown.

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