Mental health supporters to ‘build a wall’

Mental health counseling service professionals in the county are hoping that a levy supporting their efforts will be supported by voters in November and, to that end, they are building a wall to promote their cause.

The “Wall of Hope,” said Trisha Burke, Executive Director of Clermont Counseling Center, will serve to help raise funds to promote the levy campaign and thank individuals who donated to that end.

“The wall of hope is not an actual wall, it’s made of plywood and we’re selling paper bricks for $25 each to raise money for our mental health levy campaign,” said Burke. “Sheriff Rodenberg has agreed to give us $5,000 if we can raise $5,000. We’re trying to do that in the next couple of weeks.”

The levy, similar to one that failed last year, will be a replacement levy of .5 mill. That will effectively continue to produce income for the mental health services for a number of years.

“This levy supports the main mental health agencies in Clermont County,” said Burke. “Those are Clermont Counseling Center, Child Focus and Clermont Recovery Center. The levy costs $15.31 a year for someone whose home is tax valued at $100,000. We lost the campaign for that last year, so we’re desperately trying to get it passed this time.”

Burke said that the Clermont Counseling Center provides a range of services for mentally ill people in the county. Services can range from actual counseling to job training and placement, which helps recovering mentally ill patients to become productive again and support themselves.

“The counseling center serves about 2,500 people a year,” said Burke. “They are mainly residents of Clermont County with pretty significant severe mental illnesses. We have a whole range of services, from traditional therapy to vocational training and housing support. We have psychiatrists because many of the clients need medication. We have a drop-in center for those who are very isolated. We also offer specialty treatments for the very disturbed population.”

Burke said that anyone interested in supporting the campaign can call (513) 947-7000 to buy a brick, which will feature their name and a message of support that each donator can compose themselves. The bricks will then appear on a wall to display support for the levy.

“The quickest way is to call any of the agencies and tell us you want to buy a brick,” said Burke. “We’ll type the name as they want it to appear on the brick and send it to them so they can write a message of support. They can give us permission to use that message for further publicity. Then we laminate it and put it up on the wall. Those walls are up outside our different treatment agencies.”