Harrison Wellness Coalition discusses new health options | News, Sports, Jobs

Wendy Ware, director of prevention and student support at the East Central Ohio Educational Service Center, discusses starting a “Man Therapy” Campaign in Harrison, Belmont and Monroe counties.

CADIZ — The Harrison County Wellness Coalition recently learned about new health and wellness events and resources coming to the county.

The meeting was organized by Wendy Ware, director of prevention and student support at the East Central Ohio Educational Service Center. Ware took over as coalition coordinator for this meeting, as the previous coordinator, Erica Schreckengost, recently left the position.

Ware said she has 30 years of experience working in prevention and is excited to work with the coalition.

Megan Smolenak, health commissioner at the Harrison County Health Department, gave an update on changes at the department.

“We are expanding our physical activity program. So obviously we do SilverSneakers, but we are extending that. Now we are contracting out to do yoga and aerobics,” she said.

Smolenak said the new program will take place after work hours, so health department staff will not be running it. The health department will release more information about the program once it is up and running.

The health department can be reached at 740-942-2616.

Ware asked Smolenak if the health department collects information and statistics about overdose deaths in the county. Smolenak said the health department does not keep that information.

“I just think it would be good information to kind of track that and to have those numbers so we can take a look at what’s going on, what was going on,” Ware said.

Amy Norris, Harrison County commissioner, gave Ware contact information for Harrison County Coroner Porsche Beetham, who would have that information.

Ware also discussed starting a “Man Therapy” Campaign in Harrison, Belmont and Monroe counties.

“Man Therapy is a campaign that targets men regarding their mental health and in taking care of their mental health. They can go online and they can take assessments, and it really targets men,” Ware said.

She said the campaign operates through the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, and she has received permission from the foundation to use videos, images and slogans from the foundation for the campaign.

“Just in general, you know, men are a high-risk group,” Ware said.

She said that Man Therapy’s goal is to normalize getting mental health help and connecting men to other resources and services.

Ware said she would like to start making paper drink coasters for local bars, country clubs and other places where large groups of men congregate. She said the coasters would have messages on them encouraging men to go online and view mental health resources.

Ware added that she would like to encourage local men to visit to help them take care of their mental health.

Smolenak, Norris and Amy Hercules, consultant at the Village Network, formed a committee to work on the Man Therapy campaign. They hope to kick off the campaign in March.

Patty Allen, director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board, discussed some events the board is organizing in the Ohio Valley. She said Kevin Hines will be speaking at 6 p.m. May 6 at the Ohio University Eastern’s auditorium.

“If you don’t know who Kevin Hines is, he’s one of the few people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived. He is a nationally known speaker,” Allen said.

She said the event will be free to attend.

Allen also said the Mental Health and Recovery Board is hosting an art contest in May for Mental Health Awareness Month. The contest is open to all ages and anyone living in Belmont, Harrison or Monroe counties.

She said that the organization is still working on finalizing the details for the contest. More information and how to submit artwork will be released by the Mental Health and Recovery Board soon.

The next meeting will take place at 1 p.m. April 9 at the Puskarich Public Library in Cadiz. People can also join the meeting virtually on Zoom. The coalition will post the ID needed to join the Zoom meeting on its Facebook page.

The Harrison County Wellness Coalition usually meets at 1 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every other month in the meeting room in the basement of the library.

For more information, visit the Harrison County Wellness Coalition Facebook page or contact Ware by emailing her at

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