April 17, 2014

Elyria
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Nord Center shows off spectrum of services

Nord Center CEO Amy Denger talks about the variety of clients the center works with during an open house at the Lorain Facility. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Nord Center CEO Amy Denger talks about the variety of clients the center works with during an open house at the Lorain Facility. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — The Nord Center is where severely mentally ill people are treated, but that’s only part of the center’s mission.

Center staff held an open house Monday at their main office at 6140 S. Broadway to tell the rest of the story and reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. Amy Denger, center CEO, said many clients aren’t severely mentally ill, but suffer from addiction, anxiety or depression.

The problems may be brought on by stress from divorce, job loss or the illness or death of a relative. Despite needing help, Denger said many people are afraid to seek it for fear of being labeled.

“Everybody needs help sometimes,” she said. “There’s no shame in asking for it.”

While the center wants people in need to seek help, providing it is challenging. Decades of states de-institutionalizing the mentally ill and funding cuts in recent years have increased pressure on groups like the center.

The number of psychiatric hospital beds in Ohio decreased 14 percent from 50,509 in 2005 to 43,318 in 2010, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. The ratio of 14 beds per 100,000 people in 2010 was the same ratio as in 1850.

Judy Hyde, front right, uncomfortably watches herself on a video touting the services offered by the Nord Center on Monday during an open house at the Lorain facility.

Judy Hyde, front right, uncomfortably watches herself on a video touting the services offered by the Nord Center on Monday during an open house at the Lorain facility.

Nationally, states cut $1.6 billion in money for mental health treatment between 2009 and 2012, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Ohio’s spending decreased from nearly $512 million in 2009 to nearly $486 million in 2012, a 5 percent drop.

Denger said improved medication has helped the center deal with a lack of beds. The center tries to be innovative, such as having psychiatrists meet with patients through video links rather than in person.

Meanwhile, the center tries to keep unemployed clients from needing to be committed by finding them and helping them keep jobs. Amy Espinoza Gonzalez, director of vocational and residential services, said she tells employers that working is the optimal form of recovery.

“When folks are working, they have less hospitalizations,” she said. “They are contributing back to society. They’re paying taxes.”

At least 50 people attended the open house, which Denger said may become an annual event. Among them was Michelle Mannion, a registered nurse at the mental health unit at University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center.

Mannion said the unit treats between 1,500 and 2,500 patients per year and many are referred to Nord because of the comprehensive services it offers.

“They really seem to do a good followup with the patients and the community,” she said. “What we really need for mental health patients is the ongoing care they need once they leave the crisis phase of it.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com

Mental Help

  • The Nord Center was founded in 1948 and was known as the Lorain County Mental Health Association. In 1970, it was named after Walter Nord, founder of the Nordson Corp., an industrial coatings equipment company and a strong supporter of mental health initiatives.
  • The center has a $14 million annual budget, 238 employees and serves about 8,000 clients and their families annually.
  • The center receives $6.7 million annually from the Lorain County Mental Health Board from the $10.9 million raised yearly from two five-year property tax levies.
  • Besides mental health treatment, the center finds jobs for the mentally ill, rehabilitates drug addicts, runs a suicide-prevention hotline and treats sexually abused children and adult rape victims.
  • The center runs nine group homes with 122 beds for clients around Lorain County.

SOURCES: The Nord Center, Lorain County Mental Health Board

  • HaroldAMaio

    reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness

    Editors:

    You would first have to convince me to direct a “stigma.” You cannot do that.

    You would then have to convince me that “reducing” a prejudice is a worthwhile goal.

    You cannot do that.

    You were too easily convinced.

    Harold A. Maio, retired
    Mental Health Editor

    • Zen Grouch

      What in the heck is a “Mental Health Editor?!”

      • HaroldAMaio

        A person who edits mental health professionals’ writing for publication.

        • Zen Grouch

          **You would first have to convince me to direct a “stigma.”**

          I apologize for my ignorance in advance, but I haven’t a clue as to what you’re trying to communicate here. Could you dumb it down a bit, or maybe put it in context of the article you’re criticizing?

          **You would then have to convince me that “reducing” a prejudice is a worthwhile goal.**

          Why would it not be your job to convince the editor that reducing a prejudice is not a worthwhile goal?

          • HaroldAMaio

            Simple ideas are sometimes very difficult to recognize. I objected to two in the article:
            The assignation of a “stigma.”
            Never would I do so. History has taught me not to do so. That lesson is not always learned. The claim, denied against one, is directed against another. It is the same claim, only the victim changes.

            “Reducing” a prejudice means keeping some. How much is never stated. Ending a prejudice is a worthy goal, reducing one is not.
            I appreciate your interest,

            Harold

          • Zen Grouch

            **Ending a prejudice is a worthy goal, reducing one is not.**

            So, you choose to hold out for the impossible, rather than accept that something, less than perfect, is acceptable and desirable?

            I don’t believe you touched on the comment that has me scratching my head:

            **You would first have to convince me to direct a “stigma.”**

          • HaroldAMaio

            How much further front on the bus ought Rosa Park have accepted, reducing prejudice against her?
            I will not direct a “stigma.” No one can convince me to. And no, I will not accept someone “reducing” their prejudice toward me.
            Will you direct a “stigma” against me? Were you to do so, I would point out the impropriety of such a statement. Directed at you, would you not?

            Prejudice ends one person at a time. Check my work on the net to see what I do. I have eliminated this claim of stigma from many minds, many editors, even government officials. Not all by any a, but I continue to work against the appearance of that prejudice.

          • Zen Grouch

            **How much further front on the bus ought Rosa Park have accepted, reducing prejudice against her?**

            So, in your mind there is no such thing as a reduction in prejudice, and that the matter of prejudice should be binary, as with either being on or off of a bus.

            I don’t buy it. Prejudice is ingrained and can only be reduced.

            **Will you direct a “stigma” against me?**

            How in the heck does this relate to anything stated or quoted in the above article?!

            **Prejudice ends one person at a time.**

            Exactly! They end when we die.

            People can learn to be less prejudice, but to be totally so, as some claim to be for reasons of political correctness, would render us helpless in as a useful member of society.

            **Not all by any a, but I continue to work against the appearance of that prejudice.**

            A better use of time might be in working against false appearances, you know, phonies, fakes… those who claim to be what they aren’t, especially so as to not rub the current herd the wrong way.

            Honesty in all aspects of society isn’t nearly what it should be.

            **…no I’m not on an honesty thing because I just caught the wife cheating.**

  • TRB SR.

    That annual 14 million budget costs 58 thousand per Nord Center employee. That place is nothing but a chop shop where disadvantaged people are exploited. Job services? How many public agencies are needed to provide WHAT jobs that provide a living AND “taxable” wage for troubled people. What a stratagem used to feed off the weak and confused. When are the taxpayers going to see through this Nord Center ruse? How much does Amy Denger earn a year, and how does she justify that amount?

    • Zen Grouch

      **That annual 14 million budget costs 58 thousand per Nord Center employee.**

      What’s that got to do with the cost of running a facility, not related to wages?

      • TRB SR.

        Do you pay property taxes Grouch?

        • Zen Grouch

          You ask me that like you’re somehow entitled to this information, and it has something to do with your apples and oranges mathematics.

          **I love it when people answer a question with another question, especially one that’s totally irrelevant!**

          • TRB SR.

            I read your nonsense all the time Grouch, and you are nothing but a weirdo looking to pick an argument with anyone over anything. I don’t owe you an answer for anything pal.

          • Zen Grouch

            If you don’t care to explain the nonsense you post when called on the specifics, that’s cool…

            …especially if you aren’t able to defend your gibberish.

          • TRB SR.

            Shup fool. I suspect that you’re posting from the library on Washington Ave. You ain’t cool. You’re just an anti-social who doesn’t like anybody very much.

          • Zen Grouch

            **You’re just an anti-social who doesn’t like anybody very much.**

            I’m not exactly feelin’ the love from any of your posts, Mr. Happy.

          • TRB SR.

            Yeah, but you love the attention. Now don’t you?

          • Zen Grouch

            I like the stimulation…

            …but you’re kind of dumb and boring.

            So, try and pick it up, OK?

          • Fred Geffen

            You know him — by his previous postings? — so you should know his answers are always reflexive, absurd and designed to challenge, falsely humble at first and then laced with ignorant rants and vulgarities. Why bother? In my studies we call that a “No Value Added” object.
            Thank you for your information though. Cheers!
            A lot of criticism for someone who looks like a Chia head with glasses and a garbage can for a mouth.
            And unbelievably paranoid with delusions of superiority.

  • tomfeher

    Do they have any provisions in the budget to hire someone to answer the phone? I know a person who has tried to get in touch with them since Nov. 2013 ” please leave your name and number, we will get back to you!”

  • LugNutt

    Spectrum of services? I think they meant to say spectrum of meds .

    • bdid.d

      Very true, they are willing to medicate anyone that comes through the door. As for true counseling, they definitely leave a lot to be desired! I’ve known people who have gone there and never learned anything about how to deal and cope with their problems, just given pill after pill… their counseling services seem to be where the ball is dropped.