Washington, DC, May 3, 2023: This week, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), was joined by Donna and Jeff Heck Co-Founders of 33 Forever, Terry Russell Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio, Scott Sylak Executive Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Services of Lucas County and local community mental health advocates on the first day of National Mental Health Awareness Month to announce $2 Million in federal funding secured by Congresswoman Kaptur through Community Project Funding for NAMI Ohio. This $2 Million award will help to fund the creation of Dani’s Place a new $10.4 Million inpatient mental health rehabilitation center which will aim to help individuals in Northwest Ohio suffering from serious and persistent mental illness. In total, $9.6 Million of the $10.4 Million in funding for Dani’s place has been raised through public-private partnership, and the facility is anticipating a spring 2025 opening. The location for Dani’s Place is planned for the rear of the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in South Toledo. Dani’s Place will be named in memory of Danielle “Dani” Leedy, who took her own life in 2019 at the age of 33 after a long battle with chronic depression and mental illness. The effort to create the facility was first undertaken by Donna and Jeff Heck in honor of their daughter Dani – they formed a non-profit organization called 33 Forever that focuses on supporting those with mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and ideation.
“Congratulations to NAMI your pathbreaking advocacy done across our nation to champion and give strong voice to the cause of people with disabling, biochemical, neurologically based, brain conditions so complex they still are not totally understood even by medical science. But we are all on the road to new discovery and healing,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “NAMI has been steering its ship of medical discovery and care through rough waters but has never, ever given up. I am so proud of NAMI and its member advocates. To the families, patients, loved ones, and caregivers let us applaud you for seeing beyond the clouds to the distant stars ahead in the galaxies beyond. Dani’s Place is a major step for us locally to help to understand and carry out what it takes to heal. I expect great progress will be made possible as individuals living at Dani’s Place are afforded the respect, understanding, and diagnostic care their conditions require.”
“There truly is a place after a mental health hospitalization for people to go to get additional help. When you’re first put on medication, it often takes six weeks for it to kick in, and that is a big deal,” said Donna Heck, Co-Founder of 33 Forever. “Dani was kept for three days and then [sent] on our way, and her meds wouldn’t kick in for a week. So, if she was still having suicidal thoughts or having a chemical imbalance, she really needed to get stabilized. And that’s what that place is for. When we talk about saving lives, it’s literally true.”
“We see every day the consequences of untreated mental illness. We see the people on the streets and in our jails and prisons. There are many individuals living with mental illness who are cared for by their families who are ill-equipped to deal with their complex mental health symptoms,” said Terry Russell, NAMI Ohio Executive Director. “Due to the courage of the longest-serving female congresswoman to ever serve, Marcy Kaptur, we will save countless lives.”
Dani’s Place Northwest Ohio Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation Center
Residential rehabilitation has proven to have positive outcomes for a number of health-related incidents following hospitalization. Just as rehabilitation centers for individuals leaving hospital following a stroke or a hip fracture are available, a rehabilitation center for adults leaving hospitals who suffer from a mental health break is planned for northwest Ohio. A sixteen to twenty-four bed Rehabilitation Center will specifically serve individuals, 18 years and older, who have been discharged from a state of Ohio or private psychiatric hospital and who need additional treatment under a supervised living arrangement. Dani’s Place, the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center, will be operated by NAMI-OH and provide clinically appropriate services, episodic medical care with linkage to primary medical care, assistance with daily living skills, meals, family integration into treatment and discharge plan; reentry assistance with housing and linkage to a community mental health case manager will also be provided.
Persons with mental health disorders are in need of a continuum of appropriate healthcare. Residential rehabilitation centers are commonly used for patients discharged from hospital following stroke, surgery or other major illnesses. In Northwest Ohio, a region of nearly 1.6 million people, there is currently no commensurate rehabilitation center for persons discharged from a psychiatric hospitalization. Outcomes will include reduced recidivism to more costly in-patient hospitalization, reduced incidences of suicide following hospitalization, increased access to beds, and improved comprehensive discharge planning including secured housing and community support services.