Toledo orgs receive $800,000 to combat COVID suicide crisis

Federal grants will create new jobs and tools to help victims and survivors of domestic violence
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 9:57 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Zepf Center was recently awarded a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) aimed at advancing efforts to prevent suicide and suicide attempts among adults ages 25 years of age and older who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also includes a special focus on victims of domestic violence.

At the YWCA on 1018 Jefferson Ave in downtown Toledo, more victims have reached out for services since lockdown restrictions have eased in recent months.

Shelly Ulrich, Associate Director for the YWCA said, “In an effort to provide and care for their children and families, caregivers often neglect themselves. The added stress of being in an abusive relationship only underscores this neglect. By the time they realize it, things have deteriorated to the point that feelings of hopelessness and despair have set in, leaving survivors contemplating suicide or other harmful behaviors. The sooner we can address the overall wellness of the survivor, the more likely they are to becoming a thriving survivor.”

With the $800,000 grant, the YWCA will be able to hire a case manager and Zepf Center will hire resiliency coaches. Money has also been put towards new computers that provide telehealth care for those utilizing services at the YWCA and Bethany House.

Deidre Lashley, Executive Director at Bethany House, said, “The dynamics of domestic violence creates crushing isolation. Victims often are unable to care for their physical and/or mental health until they escape the abuser. In addition, engaging in services can be very intimidating for folks. We are thankful that this technology will now be available at Bethany House to make that first step toward mental health support a bit easier for survivors during this challenging time.”

“Telehealth allows individuals and their families access to confidential treatment without leaving the safety of the shelter. Changes in the way behavioral healthcare is delivered during this pandemic will have a huge impact on the individuals cared for by these shelters,” Zepf Center CEO Deb Flores said.

If you, or someone you know or suspect is experiencing domestic violence (DV), please encourage them to first remain safe, and secondly, when they are in a safe place, reach out to a DV advocate for support, services, and/or safety by reaching out to the YWCA of Northwest Ohio at 419-250-7812 or 1-888-341-7386, where there is always a live advocate waiting to assist them.

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