By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kazuki Takizawa urges the visitor to break the art gallery taboo against touching the art. “Pull it,” he urges. “A little more.” The visitor gently tugs at the edge the large oval frame that has about six dozen glass bowls suspended from it. The frame starts to swing. The glass bowls jangle against each other, ringing out through the River House Gallery. That sound is as central the work fittingly titled “Breaking the Silence II” as the sweep of the frame or the translucent colors of the bowls. The frame is shaped like a tree branch and looks like it was executed with a brush stroke. In calligraphy, a complete circle signifies unity, Takizawa said. “This is an incomplete circle that needs audience participation to start the dialogue and break the silence,” the artist said. The silence he wants to break is the silence surrounding suicide and mental illness. “Stopper Driven” by Kazuki Takizawa Takizawa suffers from bipolar disease. But it was when his younger brother slumped into a suicidal depression that he became more forthright about addressing these issues. His family flew to be with his brother in Tokyo. This marshaling of family love was “empowering,” he said. But “it was painful, super painful. The death was so close. That’s when I really started learning about suicide, and how we can go about preventing that.” He continued: “This is around the time when I started making pieces around suicide prevention and speaking about being bipolar and started telling people that my work is about mental illness.” That’s the central theme of his exhibit of glass work, “Infinite Spectrum,” now on display at River House Arts, 425 Jefferson Toledo. Takizawa’s education in suicide prevention included volunteering as a lifeline counselor on the National Suicide Prevention hotline. “I got a chance to be on the other side of the line with people who are in a critical state,” he said. More people die from suicide than homicide, he said. And the problem gets worse every year. Takizawa tackled his own issues of depression when he was a student at the University of Hawaii Manoa where he studied glassblowing. A shy child, art had been his outlet. Takizawa, 33, grew up in Hong Kong “in a weird bubble” of Japanese residents. He never learned to speak Cantonese. When he was 16 his family moved to Bangkok for his father’s job. For Takizamwa art became another language. “I was a really shy kid and very self conscious and always nervous in school,” he remembers. He had a few friends. “In art classes I was always comfortable.” Some of his best memories are of talking to people about the work he had created. About this time, Takizawa saw a television show about glass blowing and decided that’s the medium he wished to explore. He also wanted to improve his English, so he applied to schools in the western United States landing in Hawaii. There the bipolar symptoms manifested themselves. “Art work contributed to it,” Takizawa said. “You stay up working on projects, and it’s really detrimental to your health.” He started going to therapy. “I loved it. I knew nothing about depression. It was empowering to me. It was like going to another class, a time you have for yourself, available for you at school. All these counselors knew a lot of stuff I didn’t know.” He was so excited about what he was discovering he shared it with his family. “I feel like our family changed.” Takizawa graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2010, and…Read More
It is the decision of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to support The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Replacement Levy in the upcoming November election. We considered the services offered by ADAMHS and how vital they are to our business community. We also gave consideration to your use of public funds and conceded that use is reliable and respectable. It is our belief that this replacement levy will allow ADAMHS to continue to help fight real-life problems faced by our entire community and the affects drug addiction and mental health issues have on the employment pool of our business affiliates. Mary F. Hinkelman, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce
I encourage all voters to vote yes for the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services replacement levy on the ballot November 6, 2018. There are a large number of residents in our county who suffer from mental illness and addiction. With the services provided by the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, along with continued collaboration with the Wood County Sheriff’s Office and the ARC program with the Prosecutor’s Office; we can continue to help treat these individuals in a timely manner. The Crisis Intervention Team continues to help train law enforcement with a better understanding of mental illness and how to interact effectively with citizens who may be suffering. Wood County benefits greatly from the services provided to our citizens from these programs. I urge all voters to vote yes for the replacement levy for the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board on November 6th. Mark Wasylyshyn Wood County Sheriff
To the Editor: The Mental Health Committee of the League of Women Voters of Bowling Green urges a positive vote for the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Metal Health Services (ADAMHS) Board’s levy. This 1.0 mill, 10-year replacement levy will provide funding forjust over one-third of the costs of the county’s mental health and addiction services, about $3,263,000 a year. A replacement levy is not a new tax. It keeps the millage the same, but uses current property values. The levy will cost $35.00 per $100,000 home valuation. This is about an $8.60 increase yearly to the home owner. The ADAMHS Board is comprised of eighteen volunteer Wood County community members, bringing with them a variety of expertise and experience. The Board operations are conducted by the Executive Director and six staff. The Board assesses the county’s mental health and substance abuse problems and plans for cost effective services to address them. It then contracts with certified community agencies to provide programs and therapiesand monitors and evaluates these services. It raises funds through levies and grants. Mental health and addiction services and programs include treatment and support for recovery, crisis response and intervention services, the latter working closely with law enforcement. The ADAMHS Board funds agencies’ nationallyrecognized community education and prevention programs, including those aimed at the rising opiate epidemic and the increasing number of suicides in Wood County. Services reach all ages of Wood County residents. Some agencies receiving program funding include: The Children’s Resource Center, Harbor Wood Co., Unison Health, the Zepf Center, Lutheran Social Services, and A Renewed Mind. The ADAMHS Board also contracts with three hospitals that provide inpatient psychiatric services. This levy is a good investment in the lives of people dealing with difficult problems. Helping them and their families helpsmake stronger communities for all of us. Lee Hakel, President, League of Women Voters of Bowling Green Charlotte Scherer, Chair, Mental Health Committee
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News For almost two decades, the Connection Center in Bowling Green had provided a safe and welcoming place for people struggling with mental health issues. The only problem was that the space at 194 S. Main St. did not keep up with the growing needs. “We’ve needed this space for a long time,” said Tom Clemons, executive director of the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, which is the primary source of funding for the center. “I know the Connection Center has been very important in helping people recover,” Clemons said. “This is phenomenal.” Verna Mullins, the Connection Center manager, said the new expanded location promises many possibilities. “Our new facilities will give us a chance to grow” not only in the number of people served, but also in the programming offered, Mullins said. The primary goal of the center is to help people on their paths to recovery from mental health problems. “We will continue to do what we do best – provide hope,” Mullins said. On Thursday, the official ribbon cutting was held at the new Connection Center location at 309 S. Main St. The new location has almost double the space for adults receiving mental health services in Wood County. There’s room for more educational programs, like those on nutrition, exercise, and tips on how to beat the holiday blues. And there’s room for fun – as evidenced by the center’s schedule posted on a big calendar on the wall. There are plans for musical entertainment and a Halloween party. The center has a craft area, big TV, and plenty of comfortable seating. There are field trips planned to a pumpkin patch, alpaca farm, bowling, a cookout, the movie theater, a corn maze, apple orchard, and neighborhood strolls. “Whenever there was a holiday party, you couldn’t move,” John Fortner, director of Harbor mental health services in Wood County, said of the old space. The doubled space is expected to make a big difference for a lot of people. “It was really, really cramped in the other building,” said Julie Kershaw, psychosocial rehabilitation specialist at the center. “I think a lot more people will start coming.” Mary Hinkelman, new executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, said she was pleased to see the expansion – still in the downtown area. “This was a really big move for them,” she said. “We’re very excited for you.” Mayor Dick Edwards praised the renovation of the new space, which is located in front of Everyday People Cafe. “What an amazing transformation here,” he said. “I understand what you are trying to do – to make this more accessible to more people.” State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, also praised the new site and the programs offered there. “What a tremendous facility connecting people to services,” she said. The Connection Center is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Tuesday having extended hours until 6:30 p.m. On Saturday the center will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News After Carol Beckley’s life turned dark, she tried to end her life five or six times. After Kyle Snyder started stealing from his dad’s medicine cabinet, he ended up overdosing on opiates multiple times. Their lives have few similarities – except Beckley and Snyder were both saved by the safety net stretched out by the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. So on Monday, the two told their stories at the kickoff for the WCADAMHS levy which will appear on the November ballot. “Nothing speaks as clearly as to hear somebody’s personal story of their recovery,” said Tom Clemons, executive director of WCADAMHS. Beckley, who grew up in Wood County, started having problems 26 years ago. “My life as I knew it fell apart,” she said. She grew detached from things that were important to her, and started cutting herself. Beckley said she attempted suicide five or six times. Over the next five years, she was hospitalized about 20 times. “It was a revolving door for me,” she said. At that point, Beckley moved back to Wood County, where she found the safety net of services for people with mental health and addiction problems. Through Behavioral Connections, she was assigned a psychiatrist, therapist and case manager. She started hanging out at the Connections Center, where people cared how she was doing. “It was a place I could go on a daily basis,” Beckley said. “It got me out of my house. I started to crawl back to some sense of normalcy.” Without the levy funding for local mental health services, Beckley would not have been standing at a podium Monday telling her story. “Without the funding, without the help, I wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “Life as I know it is not the life I planned – but it is very rich.” Snyder was helped by a different safety net – one for addicts. As a child, Snyder watched as his father struggled as he waited for a kidney transplant. He remembered the burden and pain he felt as a child. “I remember at 10 years old I didn’t want to be alive,” he said. As a teenager, Snyder searched for ways to escape his world. “Anything to alter my reality,” he said. When alcohol was no longer enough, Snyder began taking his dad’s prescribed morphine from the medicine cabinet. When he was 27, his dad died. Soon after, Snyder had his first overdose. His family was warned that he might not survive. But he lived – only to repeat the process again. “I got high about a week later,” he said. Snyder remembers not really wanting to continue taking drugs. “But I couldn’t see a better alternative.” Snyder lost everything important to him, and went to rehab. He took the right steps – he went to treatment, attended meetings, got a sponsor. But he wasn’t ready to stop. “I still wanted to be able to party and have fun,” he said. Snyder’s “aha moment” came soon after, when he overdosed again as he was getting ready to take off in his car. He woke up in an ambulance, relieved to find out he had passed out before he started driving. That was almost four years ago. Now Snyder is working at the addiction recovery houses in Cygnet and Northwood. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he said. “Every guy who goes in there, I know what he’s going through. There’s a better life out there.” Those addiction recovery houses, and the mental health services are…
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Wood County residents have gotten fatter and sadder in the last three years. The latest Community Health Assessment results for Wood County adults show growing numbers of people carrying around extra weight physically and mentally. Nearly 40 percent of local adults classify themselves as obese, while another 33 percent say they are overweight. A total of 14 percent of adults reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more consecutive weeks. The surveys are conducted every three years by the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio. “We can be confident that this is pretty accurate,” Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey said earlier this week. A total of 1,200 adult surveys were mailed out to randomly selected residences. In order to be statistically accurate, 383 responses were needed. A total of 431 adults responded. The youth surveys fared even better, since they were conducted at schools. The health survey process began in 2008 – which allows the health department make comparisons to past health data. “How are we trending? Are we getting better in this trending?” Batey asked. The answer is yes and no. Overall, the youth data is positive. “I was very happy to see the trends with our youth,” Batey said. “We’re either holding the line or improving.” Obesity and overweight numbers among youth are gradually improving. Physical activity among youth is increasing. “Those are good things to see,” he said. Cigarette smoking among youth is at a record low. Overall substance abuse is down in kids. The numbers of youth trying alcohol and engaging in binge drinking are also down. Adolescent sexual activity is down. And bullying has dropped a bit. The one area seeing a troubling increase is in mental health. More youth responded that they have considered suicide, and experience regular sadness or hopelessness. “Mental health still seems to be declining,” Batey said. “It’s a trend that’s going in the wrong direction.” In the survey responses of parents with children ages birth to 5, a positive trend was seen in a majority of families reading to children every day in the past week. The biggest negative was a drop in mothers attempting breastfeeding. “That jumped off the page for me,” Batey said. “I think that’s huge.” But overall, Batey was happy about changes seen in younger respondents. “I’m very optimistic about the trends we’re seeing in our children and youth,” he said. Adults, on the other hand, slipped in some key areas especially weight and mental health. A total of 39 percent of adults ranked themselves as obese, compared to 22 percent three years ago. That compares to 32 percent of Ohioans and 30 percent overall in the U.S. that consider themselves as obese. Combined, 72 percent of local adults described themselves as either overweight or obese. “That’s a pretty big swing for us from where we were,” Batey said. “That’s a pretty significant number that’s concerning to me.” Wood County adults also showed a decline in mental health. When asked for the average number of days of poor mental health in the past month, local adults said 4.8 compared to 1.9 in 2015. When asked about having two or more weeks in a row of feeling sad or hopeless, 14 percent of adults said they had experienced that, compared to 5 percent in 2015. Those growing numbers are also reflected nationally, Batey said. Some credit more awareness and willingness to talk about mental health issues. Some blame the use of social media which has led to fewer personal connections with people. Now that the latest Community Health…