Northland News

Mabra honored with Dana Award for work with homeless, addicted


Longtime Northland resident Tonya Mabra received the Randall M. Dana Award of Excellence at last week's annual meeting of the Franklin County ADAMH Board.

Mabra is clinical supervisor of centralized admissions at Maryhaven, a position she has held for the past 10 years. She has worked in the substance-abuse and mental-health fields for a total of 18 years, since receiving her master's degree from Ohio University, where she also earned her bachelor's degree in sociology-criminology.

"The Randall M. Dana Award of Excellence began six years ago in honor of longtime local advocate Randall M. Dana," according to the announcement from ADAMH. "The award recognizes a dedicated staff member within the ADAMH system of care who shows a great level of commitment to the system and to its consumers and family members."

Stephanie Patrick, ADAMH vice president of clinical services, said the impact of Mabra's work is "far-reaching."

"It has changed the way we provide care for people suffering from both mental health and substance use disorders here in Franklin County," Patrick added.

"I had no idea that I was even nominated for it," said Mabra, who moved to the Northland area in 1993. "It was very nice and surprising. It's nice to hear kind words and encouragement and support from the mental health community."

The native of Oberlin, who went straight through from her bachelor's degree to a master's degree at Ohio University, came to Columbus to work with what Southeast Mental Health called "homeless dual diagnosis."

Members of the team worked with homeless people who had both mental health and substance-abuse problems, according to Mabra.

"I was one of the first case managers on that team," she said. "It was a very good experience.

"I just think that I was led to the homeless dual diagnosis team for a reason. I've enjoyed helping the population."

In her current position, Mabra said she admits adults into programs at Maryhaven, which provides drug and alcohol-addiction services. These programs include detoxification, outpatient and residential services.

During the past few years, Mabra said she has been working with officials at Twin Valley Behavior Healthcare on West Broad Street, helping individuals in the psychiatric facility receive drug-addiction services when they leave.

It can be, Mabra acknowledged, depressing working with people suffering from mental health and substance-abuse problems, separately as well as together, but also rewarding.

"Very sad things have happened to many of our clients, but it's nice to always hear from a previous client or hear from one about how they are doing, or if they cycle back through, to find that they have had some clean time," Mabra said. "Maybe somewhere down the line, they'll remember something that can help them.

"It is hard," she said. "There's limited funding and unfortunately, limited space, but it's nice that we can provide this particular service."