Leadership is changing at the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health & Recovery Services Board.
Steve Hedge, the current executive director, has announced that he will be stepping down effective Aug. 31 and will pass the torch to Deanna Brant.
Brant is coming to the organization with 26 years of experience in the mental health field. She is moving to Delaware from northeast Ohio, where she worked at Ravenwood Health in Chardon.
“My background, in terms of services, is in crisis and suicide prevention,” she said. “The severely mentally ill, those are my people. Any work that really promotes their wellness and well being is near and dear to me.”
Hedge has led Delaware-Morrow MHRSB for 21 years and expects a smooth transition with Brant as the new executive director.
“We have a great board of directors, which are very committed,” Hedge said. “They are community members. They are volunteers that represent the cross section of the county. They are the lifeblood of the decision makers in this county and provide the leadership of the county.”
Hedge said the organization has cultivated great partnerships and a great network that collaborates well.
“It’s working together,” he said. “That’s how you make progress, having the same goals and working together.”
Brant said the collaborative spirit of the organization is what attracted her to it. She said in the two weeks she has been with the Delaware-Morrow MHRSB, she has witnessed that spirit in action.
“Everyone is at the table to work through everything, all moving in the same direction with the same goal in mind,” she said. “Providing good care to make people better was of the utmost importance to me.”
Brant said her initial goal for the organization at this point would be to “just maintain all of it.”
“It’s working,” she said. “That’s what I’m going to strive for, maintenance.”
Brant said the opiate epidemic is the biggest concern on the minds of mental health and recovery professionals statewide and in Delaware County.
“We’ll look at the fight against the opiate epidemic,”she said. “In the immediate moment, the opiate crisis is the forefront of everyone’s thinking.
Hedge noted that other issues of concern are the status of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid because any changes to those programs will have major implications for many people.
“Depending how that turns out, whether people have coverage or not, it makes a big difference of whether they get the service they need or wait a little longer or not get the service they need,” he said.
Hedge said health care impacts everybody, good or bad.
Hedge said the one thing he will miss the most about working in the organization is “the people I’ve worked with and the community.”
Hedge said he is looking forward to doing whatever his wife tells him to do in his retirement.
“Happy wife, happy life,” he said. “Overall, I don’t really know the ins and outs of the next steps.”
Hedge said he loves the area and has no plans to leave it. He said he wants to travel and his wife also has a lot of projects for him to do.
“I like to work with my hands,” he said. “It’s good for my mental health.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.