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Highlights of First Call For Help's History & Growth
1984 First Call For Help (FCFH) opened
February 6, 1984 as an Information and Referral (I&R) service for Henry County, funded
by the United Way of Henry County and housed in their office. Jean Small was the agency's
first Director, and the agency's budget was $8,200.
1985 I&R service house were expanded,
with staffing by trained volunteers. Funding was made available through the Four County
Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental health services (ADAMhs) Board to answer mental health
1986 I&R services continued to grow.
Part-time paid staff answered FCFH's hotline. The budget had grown to $72,000.
1987 FCFH was incorporated as a
non-profit agency with its own Board of Trustees. Twenty-four hour mental health hotline
was now available to anyone in Defiance, Fulton, Henry, and Williams counties. Office was
located at 2296 N. Scott Street. Directors: Nancy Parks/Jeanne Gorsuch/Dorothy Dean.
1988 Part-time mental health
professionals were available on call to respond to people who were experiencing
psychiatric emergencies. Teen line was begun, operated by area teenagers assisting peers.
I&R services continued with United Way funding. Dorothy Dean continued as director.
1989 Full-time and on-call mental health
professionals met with community residents who were in crisis. FCFH provided home-based
stabilization services and Pre-hospitalization screenings in accordance with the new
Mental Health Law. The agency's budget was $ 189,000.
1990 "Hope House," a five-bed
treatment facility, was opened at Yokefellow House in Evansport, Ohio. Administrative
offices moved to present location at 1330-A N. Scott Street.
1991 The "Residential Treatment
Program" opened in Napoleon on February 22, 1991, to provide 24-hour psychiatric
services for adults with severe mental illness and others in crisis. The budget increased
to $388,000. FCFH became certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH).
1992 FCFH experienced growing pains as
the need for professional mental health emergency services increased, resulting in many
changes including 24-hour nursing services and increased physician time for the five-bed
unit. Computerization of I&R services was initiated. Increased services resulted in a
budget of $768,000.
1993 The name of the five-bed unit was
changed to "Crisis Stabilization Unit," (CSU)with increased emphasis upon
diverting persons with mental illness from placement in more restrictive treatment. Child
and adolescent emergency services were added. The I&R Specialist position was created.
Joetta Prost, Ph.D. became Director of FCFH.
1994 Additional social workers and
registered nurses were hired to work full time "around the clock" providing
mental health assessments in the community. Persons served by FCFH ranged from age 4 to
94, for a total of 1265 assessments and 200 admissions to the CSU in fiscal year 1994.
Psychiatric and nursing consultation services were begun for Corrections Center of
Northwest Ohio and Four County Family Center. The Quality Improvement program was expanded
to a full time position. Total agency budget was $954,235. Reverend Tom Shane was the
guest speaker at the dinner celebrating FCFH's tenth anniversary.
1995 Application was submitted by First
Call For Help (in coordination with New Home Development Company, Maumee Valley Guidance
Center, and Four County ADAMhs Board) for "Horizon Apartments," an innovative
independent apartment project which would provide 24-hour onsite support for ten persons
with mental illness. With a grant from Henry County United Way, the I&R program was
improved by installing, "IRIS" software; the resulting database contains nearly
1,000 resources. The annual dinner speaker was Brandon Fitch, who shared about his
experiences coping with schizophrenia.
1996 90 Law enforcement personnel in the
four county area received mental health training. Computerization improvements were made
within the agency. Ground-breaking for Horizon Apartments was held. Budget for fiscal year
1996 was $ 1,226,000, with a staff of 40. Screeners logged over 40,000 miles providing
1300 assessments at 95 locations in Northwest Ohio. The annual dinner speaker was Susan
White-Bowden, who shared about coping with her son's suicide.
1997 Horizon Apartments is finally a
reality; the 10 apartments for clients with mental illness were ready in June. The
residents live independently with support from staff of FCFH who are on site 24-hours a
day. Jeanette Adkins, NOVA, Crisis Response Team, was our guest speaker for the annual
1998 FCFH is on the Internet. Our website
can be accessed at www.firstcallnwo.org. We are continuing to bring people and services
together in Northwest Ohio. The Information and Referral (I&R) database has
approximately 2,500 resources with the addition of 3 new counties. We currently provide
I&R services to Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Williams
counties. ODMH completed recertification of FCFH. Budget for fiscal year 1998 is $1.3
million with a staff of approximately 50. Kendall Alexander, LISW became director of FCFH.
Dr. Jane Ammons became new medical director.
1999Teen Line was established in cooperation with
local law enforcement agencies and local area schools. Hotline and I & R services expanded to include
Logan/Champaign Counties. Outpatient psychiatric services expanded and FCFH contracted with a number
of Nursing/Group Homes to provided psychiatric services. In collaboration with 5 County Alcohol/Drug
Program, FCFH began offering outpatient dual-diagnosis services in Defiance. First Call For Help celebrated
its 15th year anniversary with its first Annual Fund Campaign. Budget for FY 1999 was $1.6 million, with a
staff of approximately 65.
2000 Horizon Apartments received the Governor’s
Award for Excellence. First Call For Help joined the Ohio 211 Collaborative to provide a universal number
for I & R in Ohio. The Family Connections of NWO was formed as a collaborative of local I & R
agencies and Family and Children First Councils. The Regional Hub allows for better access to social service
agencies within the community. Hotline services expanded to include Union County.