Another’s memory & mothers’ courage is transformational

“There was no place for people to go,” cried Marcia Knapp, “at one point, our son asked to be

put in a jail cell to feel safe.”

Top L: Welcome sign inside the new Rehab Center; Top R: Mrs Baker, Amanda’s Mom, and Mr. & Mrs. Knapp, Adam’s parents speak at ribbon cutting; Lower L to R: Mayor Steve Patterson, Athens Ohio; Sally Luken, consultant to NAMI-OH; State Rep Jay Edwards (R-94); Sean Thomas, Exec Dir Ohio Housing Finance Agency; and Earl Cecil, Exec Dir of Athens, Hocking, Vinton 317 Board

Oh Marcia, to think it took Adam’s and then Amanda’s suicides to get our attention!  I am so sorry for that, but we finally have that place for people to go – to feel safe and get well.

In your son’s memory and in the memory of Amanda Baker – another young adult who suffered from untreated health conditions – the opening of the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center is the start.

The idea of “deinstitutionalization” of persons with brain disorders was bold and exciting 30 or 40 years ago.  It was a good idea to get people out of state psychiatric hospitals because warehousing people with mental health issues was not improving their health and quite frankly, was inhumane.  You wouldn’t have wanted that for Adam.

Fast forward to 2018 – instead of a full community system of support – treatment and housing as promised, too many people with this health condition are among the population homeless, in jails or prisons…or like Adam and Amanda taking their own lives out of desperation.

The Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center is now open!  Like a skilled nursing facility that a friend went to following leg surgery to get rehab and assistance, the new Adam-Amanda Center will provide that level of care and support to people with a mental health illness.  There is now a place for people to go Marcia.  And according to NAMI-Ohio, it is the first of five more that Ohio needs and if NAMI-Ohio has anything to do with it – we’ll have them in every region of the state!

It’s bittersweet for me – bitter that two smart, capable people lost their lives because the healthcare they needed didn’t exist. Sweet in that I helped with the development of the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center – the start of a transformed system of care.  Now, we are working on the next steps – housing.  Interest and commitments to build new housing is happening in a corner of Ohio were the lack is acute…so stay tuned Marcia, we’ll get there.  And I for one find your courage and Amanda’s mother’s courage in the face of losing your loved ones, a driving force to create the safe places for people to go for the healthcare and housing they deserve!





Sally demonstrated professionalism during collaboration and dedication to achieving our ultimate goal. We are grateful for her expertise and assistance.

- Jamison Hild, Black Hills Health Care System
Luken Solutions