CHARDON, Ohio — The collective trauma we've experienced over the past year and a half has many convinced that a mental health crisis is the next pandemic and data seems to back it up.
One poll earlier this year found one in five adults reported their mental health has worsened.
“With the preventative work that we do, we really want to support our families in our community and our older adults in our community and really make sure that they have the wraparound services that they need,” said Kristina Miller, a Geauga County social worker.
While the demand for social services help due to mental health, substance abuse issues and other problems are surging, Miller says the amount of referrals is declining.
“We know that there are families out there who are having some struggles that we are not aware of,” she said.
The support has never been more important for individuals and families, like Kathleen and Ron Paydo in Summit County.
“Every case has a social worker that is the case manager for the child, but foster parents have a social worker themselves. So I have representation in the agency when Ron and I have an issue or a question,” Katheen said.
Earlier this month the couple shared they've been foster parents to 135 children for more than 30 years. They've seen first-hand the crucial role social services play in helping protect children and reunite families when safe to do so.
“That's a great support because if you can't get a hold of one or the other is unavailable, they cover for each other and that is a big support for us,” Kathleen said.
Ohio Means Jobs-Geauga County is hosting a social services career on Sept. 30 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Geauga County offices in Chardon. The agency is looking to help fill full and part-time positions, including social workers, counselors and drivers.