Worthy Point of View: Worthington has avenues of support for people in crisis

Eddie Pauline
Guest columnist

Many people in our community and region are hurting and need help.

This past year presented many challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency, including a global pandemic that has forced us to cope with situations we never imagined. These challenges were layered on top of, and in some cases further fueled, racial discrimination, injustice and violence.

Eddie Pauline is chair of the Worthington Community Relations Commission.

Challenges are amplified for at-risk children and adults who are in crisis. Tragically, we have lost people, including children, to violence and this is never acceptable. Additionally, more than 50 Worthington families are struggling with the grief of losing loved ones, mostly older adults, from COVID-19 this year.

We must recognize the dignity and humanity that is behind every single person who is struggling and do everything we can to help people in crisis get the support they need. So many don’t have the resources or know where to turn for help. We cannot let children, individuals and families fall through the cracks. We must strive to do better to protect others, especially our young people and older adults, and continue our commitment to being a safe, supportive and welcoming community for all.

In Worthington, with the support of community partners, we have a wide range of resources available to help people in need.

Part 1 of the Community Coronavirus Survey identified mental health as one of the top concerns during the pandemic. Part 2 shows that, although distress levels have improved, many people continue to struggle. About a quarter of respondents experiencing high distress indicate they have nowhere to turn when it comes to getting support.

There are tools and resources available here in Worthington that can support the well-being of people facing challenges due to mental health or other crises, and we urge everyone in need to access these resources.

After mental health was identified as a top concern, the city provided grant funding made possible by federal CARES Act dollars to community-service providers to develop additional support programs for people in need.

Schools often are the first line of defense for recognizing children and families in crisis, and Worthington Schools have identified additional needs in this area. The district is increasing its staff of mental-health specialists and providing additional outreach and resources to families as they advocate for their students.

The district provides a list of emergency-crisis and mental-health resources at worthington.k12.oh.us/Page/4556 and continues to work directly with students and families in times of need.

Worthington Libraries also is a vital partner in providing support and vital resources to the community. Library resources include information for people experiencing assault or violence, mental and physical-health challenges, employment assistance and connections to many other social services and advocacy organizations. Find out more at worthingtonlibraries.org/explore/subject-guides/family-resources.

One of the visions identified in the recent community-visioning process is that Worthington will be a diverse and equitable community. Diversity will strengthen the social fabric of Worthington as we build authentic, lasting relationships and care for one another.

Your Community Relations Commission continues to work closely with city leaders and residents to help advance programs and policies to end discrimination, bias and racism and support people in need. One way we bring this vision to reality is to listen, connect and support each other so our community members are protected.

If you or someone you know are in crisis, call or text one of these numbers 24/7:

Nationwide Children's Hospital Franklin County Youth Psychiatric Crisis Line at 614-722-1800 (17 years and under).

Netcare Access Crisis Hotline at 614-276-2273 (18 years and older).

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

• The Crisis Text Line at 741741. Text “4hope” to be connected to someone in Ohio, but any text will get the conversation started.

Eddie Pauline is chair of the Worthington Community Relations Commission.