CLEVELAND — Angela Davis of Cleveland knew she had to take quick action after suffering a mental health crisis last month, but she wasn't going to wait months to get private behavioral health counseling.
“I had a situation at my job and I didn’t sleep for two days," Davis said. “I suffer from anxiety, I also suffer from PTSD, and I have an anger issue. I normally cry, or I’ll start screaming or pounding something."
So, she reached out to MetroHealth for help.
"So I got up and I actually went to the main campus of MetroHealth," she said. "I told them what was going on and they put me in a little secluded area by myself.”
Angela's effort ultimately got her the behavioral health counseling she needed at The Centers for Families and Children Behavioral Health Urgent Care in Cleveland. She is urging anyone who is waiting for help, who needs immediate assistance, to take action and utilize a wide variety of free local services.
“You can call United Way's 2-1-1and they can give you a list of numbers," Davis said. “They definitely should take action because the longer they let their mental issues go untreated, the longer it’s going to take for them to get back to a place of normalcy.”
Scott Osiecki, CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, acknowledged some are dealing with wait times of 3 to 6 months for private counseling. Osiecki said the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County is working to increase wages for local mental healthcare professionals to help deal with a worker shortage responsible for longer wait times.
“We’re seeing this happening in the medical and behavior health field all across the board," Osiecki said. “Behavioral health careers haven’t kept pace with other health careers in the salaries that they’re receiving.”
Osiecki told News 5 if someone is waiting a long time for private counseling they can call the 24-hour Cuyahoga County Crisis Hotlineoperated by Frontline Services at 216-623-6888. The phone call could lead to a referral to the Cuyahoga County Diversion Center which is available 24-hours a day and includes an assessment, crisis stabilization, counseling, medication and even detoxification services for up to 5 days.
Additionally, he said if someone needs greater care, the 24-hour St. Vincent Psychiatric Emergency Department can help and could lead to hospitalization. The Cuyahoga County Crisis Stabilization Unit and crisis response team is also available for an at-home visit.
Osiecki also mentioned another option, if you want to talk through issues with people who have lived experience, is theCuyahoga County Warmlineoperated by Thrive Peer Recovery Services at 440-886-5950.
A person can also crisis text if they don't feel comfortable talking on the phone, by simply texting "4HOPE" to 741741, 24-hours a day. Osiecki said there are other measures someone can take including making an appointment with their primary care physician while they are waiting for a mental health appointment, he added.
"Exercise is also not only good for physical health, it’s also great for your mental health as well," Osiecki said. "So take a walk, get outside, get some fresh air. Getting enough rest, eating nutritious meals and connecting with people, so connect with your family, connect with your friends."
The State of Ohio also operates the Ohio Carelineat 1-800-720-9616, behavioral health professionals are available 24-hours a day. There is also the SAMHSA National Help Line at 1-800-662-4357 (HELP) for individuals facing mental health and substance abuse issues.
Meanwhile, Angela is hoping others will seek the help they need and reach out to make contact, especially if they are dealing with long wait times.
“People just have to get out of their pride and their feelings and say hey I’m having a mental crisis," Davis said. “It’s all about reaching out, being honest, being open, hey I’m having an issue, I need you to talk to me, talk me off this ledge.”