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Mental Health Services CEO stepping down

The top executive at Mental Health Services for Clark and Madison Counties recently announced plans to leave his position.

Mental Health Services has begun a search to replace Dr. James Perry, who has been the CEO of the organization for 33 years. He will remain in his position until his successor is named.

Perry said his departure does not mean he’s retiring.

“I will continue to work. I just want to lessen my workload. I’ll do clinical work elsewhere,” Perry said.

MHS Board of Trustees Chair Marilyn Krieder said Thursday that trustees have interviewed internal candidates for the position and expect to name his successor in 30 to 45 days.

Krieder said replacing Perry will be difficult.

“We have some huge shoes to fill,” Krieder said.

Perry was instrumental in plans to build the new $10 million mental health facility that began in last June, offering in-patient and out-patient services downtown.

Officials decided to move from the former Mercy Medical Center campus several years ago after learning of Springfield Regional Medical Center plans to open a facility downtown.

The mental health facility is now located at 474 N. Yellow Springs St. and works cooperatively with Springfield Regional to provide mental health services to patients across the region.

Mental Health Services provides care for individuals of all ages with schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression and other mental health issues. Perry said MHS provides walk-in treatment, recovery services, emergency care and day care programs for those with psychiatric disorders.

Roselin Runnels, a spokeswoman for the Mental Health Recovery Board, said Perry was involved in the capital campaign to build the new facility and has seen the agency through legislative changes.

“He’ll be hard to replace,” Runnels said.

Perry said when he began working with Mental Health Services about 150 to 160 mentally ill Clark County patients were treated in regional state hospitals. Now, only a few are in state hospitals, he said.

Krieder said Perry had the vision to see where mental health care was headed and understands the needs of the community.

She said trustees have decided against conducting a nationwide search for Perry’s replacement, but are instead seeking someone who understands the mental health community in Ohio.

“We need someone who knows the operation and the funding of an Ohio community mental health agency because of the changes in funding coming down through the state of Ohio,” Krieder said. “There’s always a redistribution of funding and they will need to be able to respond in a way that we will continue to be able to provide the service people in our community need.”

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