Ohio County Sheriff seeks to advance treatment for mental hygiene patients

Ohio County

Ohio County, W.Va. (WTRF)- The Ohio County Sheriff’s Department is trying to do away with how mental hygiene patients are currently being treated. The sheriff says it’s not as humane as it should be.

But changing current treatment also means a change in resources.

From transferring a mental hygiene patients to being admitted into a new facility, the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department is a big part of that process.

But the Sheriff questions if that’s even helping those patients any.

“They are being handled by law-enforcement that, honestly, at times, can scare people. Having law enforcement show up can heighten it, make it worse.”

Sheriff Tom Howard, Ohio County Sheriff Department

That’s the way it works in West Virginia.

Especially in a state like this, the need to treat mental hygiene patients is high, and that only concerns the Sheriff even more.

Even Ohio County itself has a great need for it.

“Ohio County is huge… it’s one of the top in the states as far as mental hygiene commitments.”

Sheriff Tom Howard, Ohio County Sheriff Department

But the current treatment and transferring process isn’t as humane as the Sheriff says it should be.

The process itself takes a long time, and West Virginia doesn’t have other personnel like social workers and counselors there in the transferring process… like other states do.

All West Virginia has is law enforcement and that in itself, the sheriff believes, isn’t the best for the patients.

Director of the Wheeling Ohio County homeland security emergency management Lou Vargo also agrees.

WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital is also a big part of this. The Ohio County sheriffs department is continuing to working with them, streamlining the process by making it quicker and more humane for their patients.

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