MANSFIELD -- Catalyst Life Services and the Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board celebrated the opening of its new 16-bed Withdrawal Management Center and a 16-bed Residential Treatment Facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning.
The facilities, located at 703 and 707 Scholl Road, will fulfill a longtime “need” by expanding the available substance use disorder treatment services to residents in Richland and surrounding counties and bring a total of 47 new jobs.
The withdrawal management facility, or detox center, is the first of its kind for this community and for Catalyst, and the new residential treatment center will serve as the second New Beginnings treatment facility and allow for gender-specific housing.
The new treatment center is for women and will known as “Veronica’s House,” named after former executive director, Veronica Groff, who retired in early 2019.
“This has very much been a community endeavor. We’ve gone through so many iterations of trying to bring this type of project forward,” said Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board executive director, Joe Trolian.
He estimates Richland County saw the opioid epidemic’s earliest impact in 2008. He saw an obvious “need” for a withdrawal management center by 2010, but repeatedly, proposals hit obstacles.
“It’s been a long process getting things in place. We’re now on ‘Project G’ because that’s how many projects have fallen through in the process… Despite that people have stayed positive, and finally we’re almost to fruition,” Trolian said.
The Mental Health Board and Catalyst broke ground for the new facilities in August 2018. The ground was hard, and the board’s president, Kym Lamb remembers struggling to get her shovel into the ground.
“I remember thinking, this is hard dirt. This is really hard dirt,” she said. “And this project has been hard dirt. It’s been difficult to get our shovels in, to get ground and get going.
“And as you all stand here today, we broke the ground, we got through the dirt and these buildings are now standing.”
She says the community’s willingness to collaborate on this project led up to Friday.
“Everyone of you standing here today agreed to work with someone else to make this work… We have one goal, that we’re going to get people help,” Lamb said.
Trolian recognized this, too, as he explained how the project was collaboratively funded. A portion of the expense was covered by a State of Ohio Capital matching grant through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and the remainder was funded by the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, Richland County Foundation, the S.N. and Ada Ford Foundation, OhioHealth, Rotary Club of Mansfield, Mid-Ohio Area AFL-CIO Labor Council and many other individual and corporate donors. .
“This was amazing because it wasn’t a formal (ask). It was a last minute. ‘I need this money, and I need it quick,’” said Trolian, recalling his conversations with the local contributors. “But they saw the desperation and the need for this particular project and were willing to make it happen.”
The treatment programming at the facilities will be provided by Catalyst Life Services with medical services provided under subcontract with Third Street Family Health Services.
“But just because the buildings are built doesn’t mean recovery is instant, doesn't mean recovery won’t take work, doesn’t mean recovery won’t take putting our shovels in the ground, again and again,” Lamb said.
She encouraged the community to continually support the mission of the new facilities.
Also at Friday’s celebration, Mansfield resident, was recognized. Modern Woodmen of America presented her with a Hometown Hero Award.
Cloes had lost her 26-year-old son in April 2015 after his eight year struggle with heroin addiction. At his funeral, she collected donations for a future project -- one that would provide people like her son a place to recover.
When learning about this project, she felt inspired to donate the $2,700 from the funeral and even worked to raise more dollars for the cause. She ultimately donated a total of $6,835.73.