More first responders, mental health services on the way to Northeast Ohio, thanks to grant money: Stimulus Watch

Cuyahoga and its adjacent counties received a total of $6.3 million in grant funds to hire firefighters, paramedics and to boost mental health services available to them.

Though 16 fire and police departments received money through the Ohio First Responder Recruitment, Retention, and Resilience program, the lion’s share of that went to Akron for its fire department to hire 25 more firefighters and paramedics.

The goal of awarding the money, part of a $75 million American Rescue Plan Act program, is to entice first responders to stay in the profession, which has suffered from understaffing and burnout in recent years, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a news release.

Of that $70 million, the Ohio Department of Public Safety has awarded $49 million so far, according to the news release.

Some popular options among Ohio fire departments were to pay for wellness apps, health screenings and mental health services, such as peer support or counseling.

In many cases, the overtime listed in the grants will be used to cover the shifts of employees who are attending training.

We tallied up the grant amounts from Cuyahoga and its adjacent counties. Here are the departments set to receive grants:

  • Akron Fire Department: $5.4 million to hire 25 firefighters/paramedics
  • Amherst Police Department: $84,749 for behavioral health, a wellness app and dietary programs
  • Copley Township Fire Department: $60,661 for peer support, resiliency and overtime
  • East Cleveland Fire Department: $15,000 for wellness support
  • Fairport Harbor Fire Department: $2,430 for testosterone and cortisol blood testing for a mental health program
  • Madison Fire District: $11,200 for mental health screenings
  • North Olmsted Police & Fire Departments: $259,700 for a part-time wellness coordinator and a wellness education program
  • Oakwood Village Police Department: $9,988 for a mobile wellness app
  • Olmsted Township Fire Department: $18,095 for peer support, overtime and training an employee to become an in-house critical incident stress trainer.
  • Painesville City Fire Department: $7,800 for overtime
  • Perry Joint Fire District: $4,953 for critical incident stress management training for five employees
  • Richfield Police & Fire Departments: $95,000 for mental/physical wellness checks and counseling sessions
  • Rocky River Fire Department: $65,756 for annual wellness evaluations and overtime
  • South Summit Council of Governments: $20,271 for mental health education programs and overtime
  • Tallmadge Fire Department: $105,168 for physical and mental health services, plus overtime
  • Valley City Fire Department: $101,000 for wellness and clinician services

By Percy