The Honorable John R. Kasich, Governor, State of Ohio addressed the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities Wednesday, January 11th during the lunch keynote. His presentation followed that of Nancy Lublin, Founder/CEO of the Crisis Text Line, a text-based crisis intervention system with a 95% open rate. The Crisis Text Line has processed some 30 million messages and has an impressive mental health database. There have been 33,466 coversations in Ohio over 4 years and 243 active rescues; 79% are under age 25; 10% are under age 13. Sixty-one percent of text messagers shared new content they had never shared with anyone else- one-in-five referenced self harm.
Governor Kasich referred to the crisis presentation statistics and said he looks forward to the day when we actually understand more fully how the brain works. He has been a champion of taking care of those suffering mental health and addiction disorders, and thanked those assembled for caring for their fellow Ohioans.
Kasich shared a story from the campaign trail when a man asked him what he was going to do to help his small town in the Northwest, if elected President of The United States. Kasich said it is “not what I’m going to do, but what you’re going to do in your town. Only when the ‘bottom-up’ gets mobilized can the ‘top down’ do something.” He referred to community meetings and community involvement and citizen mobilization to tackle the key issues facing us- like opiate addiction, or trafficking.
Kasich said he’d recently read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, which suggests that the tipping point is just 5% engagement/involvement to begin to change things. So when there is a community forum and perhaps only 5% show up, that’s still powerful. “It’s not just top down, but bottom up. This gives us hope in getting communities going again. We have got to set our communities on fire.”
Following one address in Southeastern Ohio, he saw a teen girl with a defeated demeanor. He said to her, “There is no one just like you. You are a made a unique creation, born with a purpose, born for something special.” The girl began to cry. No one had ever said that to her. “Often, kids who are on drugs grew up with every conceivable advantage, but they are bored and have no sense of meaning, and no sense of purpose. Something is missing. Each child needs to understand that they’re born for something special. You inherit the earth, but can lose your soul. The spiritual aspect matters.” He ventured further into his understanding of Christian hope, meaning, and promise and thanked the crowd of 500+ to applause.