GALLIPOLIS — On Monday, Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery (CPR) reflected on how their mission has made real change in the Gallia County community.
“Everything the coalition does is so powerful and so important,” Lora Jenkins, a member of CPR, said. “I’m proud to be on a committee and taskforce that does something that means something so powerful, so meaningful. It’s a privilege to serve in that capacity and know that the efforts really serve the community.”
CPR is a coalition comprised of different members and services in the Gallia community. It seeks to address different issues, like drug use and mental health, locally through a variety of different efforts.
This month, CPR discussed its progress and future plans.
CPR’s suicide prevention team is currently working to distribute grief packets—packets with information on grief and loss—to families that have recently lost someone to suicide. The suicide prevention committee also announced that it plans to “restructure…bylaws, long- and short-term goals,” said Crystal Rankin.
In October, a nineteen-year-old man die by suicide in Gallia County. CPR members were able to distribute information and assistance to his family.
“It was just amazing to hear that this coalition had a response to that,” Jenkins said.
Also discussed at the meeting was the planned Walk of Remembrance. The Walk is usually held at the Gallipolis City Park, but this week will be held at Field of Hope’s campus in Vinton on November 13 at 6 p.m. CPR hopes to livestream the event, member Shannon Dalton said.
Member Jenny Henchey, who works at the Gallia County Health Department, also said that the needle exchange program had moved its date for this week only to Thursday rather than Wednesday.
CPR’s human trafficking taskforce also announced that they had met with the Governor’s Office’s human trafficking taskforce and also spoke with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to discuss trafficking in southeastern Ohio. CPR’s human trafficking taskforce, which was started by Dr. Christi Bartman of Eyes Up Appalachia, is the first such taskforce in the southeast Ohio region.
Lora Rawson of Community Action announced that that group has received funding to help people who are under 200 percent of the federal poverty line. The funding is time sensitive, Rawson said. For more information, call (740) 367-7341.
Dr. Joe Gay finished the meeting with a presentation on deaths of despair in Ohio and Gallia County. “Deaths of despair” is a phrase coined by Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton, and refers to deaths by overdose, suicide, or liver disease related to alcohol consumption. 300 percent. In Ohio, overdoses account for 57 percent of deaths of despair, suicides 31 percent, and liver cirrhosis 12 percent, Gay said. In Gallia County, he said, the rate of deaths of despair is 53.51 per 100 thousand. Gallia County is seventh in the state of any county by the rate of deaths of despair.
“It’s important to understand what’s happening. We look at statistics, and it’s sad to know that they represent, and are, individual lives,” Thom Mollohan, who leads CPR, said. “We work hard to understand so we can work hard to deal with the truth and to help people who are truly in need. That hard work does pay off. We have a lot of tragedies, but we also have a lot of victories, too.” He emphasized the need for compassion in addressing substance use and mental health issues.
CPR meets the second Monday of every month.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.