Advocacy Priorities

Top Issues of Concern

The impacts of COVID-19 have been sudden and universal, and they have affected nearly every American. Based upon conversations with numerous superintendents, mental health leaders, child advocacy leaders, child researchers and others across Appalachian Ohio across the Appalachian region of Ohio, it is apparent that these impacts have been especially burdensome on the rural communities of eastern and southern Ohio, and specifically, have created insurmountable challenges for local school districts across the region. Among the issues we see an immediate need to cover are:

Continuum of Crisis Care

Behavioral Health Specialists

Broadband

The number of beds available for children in need of inpatient, residential mental health treatment is shockingly low. This region is in need of more beds and funding that will allow kids to receive the care and treatment they need while staying close to home. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255.

State and federal policymakers must allocate the resources necessary for rural, Appalachian schools to hire and retain vital vital child behavioral health specialists. They must also do more to incentivize the education, recruitment, and placement of behavioral health specialists in Southeast Ohio.

A high percentage of Southeast Ohio students cannot access the internet from home -- a number the Coalition is working to quantify in partnership with public and private sector leaders. We are working with broadband advocates from across the region to seek a remedy to this problem as fast as possible.

The Coalition is working to bring COVID-related support to our region around these issues. We hope you will join us.

Additional Resources and Evidence of Need

  • Representative Troy Balderson's testimony to the House Appropriations Committee, seeking robust funding for community health centers, telehealth services, and rural broadband infrastructure. 

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