Hamilton Center Welcomes New Therapists to Owen Office

Hamilton Center, Inc. welcomes therapist Kimberly Zaun, MA, LPC, to the Owen satellite office located at 909 W. Hillside Ave. in Spencer, IN.

Ms. Zaun graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in clinical mental health counseling from Bowling Green State University, in Bowling Green, Ohio. Ms. Zaun has significant experience in the mental health field having worker with children providing crisis intervention, mental health assessments, and individual and group therapy. Her clinical interests are in Trauma-Informed Care, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Application.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN. Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.
For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

Hamilton Center Awarded DMHA Poverty Simulation Systems of Care Grant

Sets date for next SOC meeting.

Terre Haute, IN- Hamilton Center has been awarded the Project AWARE Systems of Care (SOC) School Based Engagement grant by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA). The grant provides $4,942 to fund Community Action Poverty Simulations (CAPS) that will help increase awareness and understanding about poverty and how it impacts the youth and families in our community. In partnership with local SOCs, Hamilton Center, Inc. will serve Vigo, Sullivan, Parke, Vermillion, Clay, Greene and Marion counties with this grant.

Poverty is a significant area of concern for central and west central Indiana. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, counties served by this grant have a higher percentage of children living in poverty than the state average, an estimated 17.8 percent for individuals under the age of 18.  All counties proposed for the grant fall above that number, with Vigo and Marion at 25 percent, and Vermillion, the lowest of the group, at 17.9 percent. This group of counties also struggles with other issues related to poverty. In the state, Clay and Parke counties rank in the top 10 for removal of children from the home due to substance use; Sullivan County ranks 7th for unemployment rate; while Greene County ranks 5th for unemployment.

“Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families” Said Melvin L. Burks, Hamilton Center’s CEO.  “But unless someone has experienced poverty, it’s difficult to truly understand,” he said.

The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) bridges that gap from misconception to understanding. CAPS is an interactive immersion experience. It sensitizes community participants to the realities of poverty.  The goals of the simulation are promote poverty awareness, increase understanding, inspire local change, and transform perspectives.

“These staggering statistics show a significant need for community initiatives like the SOC,” said Dwight Weaver, SOC Coordinator and Program Manager of Child & Adolescent Services at Hamilton Center, Inc. “The primary function of the SOC is to increase services and collaborations among providers to meet the increasing needs of the youth and families in our communities, with the ultimate goal of improving these statistics,” he said.

Hamilton Center has taken a primary role in developing SOC’s across its regional footprint, applying for several grants that will help increase access to services and market the good work of the group. The organization received the DMHA School Based Systems of Care grant in August of 2019 to develop a marketing campaign and website which will provide a broader reach for the initiative. Go to www.vigosoc.org to get more information.

Community members, specifically those involved in the “system of care”, are invited to attend the monthly SOC meetings. If you are interested in attending by call Dwight Weaver, Program Manager, Hamilton Center, Inc., at 812-231-8194.

Annual Point in Time Count Takes Place January 22

Hosted by the Homeless Council of the Wabash Valley

The annual Point in Time (PIT) count will take place Wednesday, January 22 in Region 7. In preparation community organizations are rallying troops of volunteers that will work to count sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in our community. The Homeless Council of the Wabash Valley (HCWV) represents Region 7 which includes the counties of Clay, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, and Vigo.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires the local councils on homelessness across the nation to complete counts in the communities of people living in emergency shelter, transitional housing or “on the streets”. Nationally the event takes place on a single night in January and provides valuable data for HUD’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness.

“While some families are staying warm in their homes in January we need to remember that not everyone is that fortunate,” said Kelli Fuller, Homeless Outreach Coordinator at Hamilton Center, Inc. who sits on the Homeless Council of the Wabash Valley. “With the homeless population on the rise, an increase commonly associated with mental illness and addiction, it is critical that we assist them.”

In Vigo County, food, clothing, hygiene products and community resource information will be provided at Fairbanks Park and Gilbert Park from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Other locations include the Vigo County Public Library, open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the Terre Haute Transit Station, open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. In addition, the Clothing Closet for Veterans and the Needy of Terre Haute, located at 1000 S. 14th St., will be open 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Teams will reach out to encampments as well in outlying counties. For more information please contact Kelli Fuller at 812-231-8322 or kfuller@hamiltoncenter.org.

The HCWV meets at Ryve’s Hall at 11am on the third Tuesday of each month. Please feel free to attend a meeting if you have any questions or would like to become involved.

Hamilton Center Announces New Staff for Vigo County Services

Hamilton Center, Inc. welcomes Program Manager, Dwight Weaver, BA, and therapist Lylia Piatt, MSW, MT-BC, to Child & Adolescent Services located at 500 8th Ave., Terre Haute, and therapist, Anne Uhlman, MA, LMHCA, to Vigo County Outpatients Services, located at 620 8th Ave., Terre Haute.

Mr. Weaver, graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and history. He has significant experience in the field of mental health and has worked at Hamilton Center for 8 years. He started as a Direct Skills Technician before moving to Wraparound Coordinator in Greene County, later becoming Wraparound Supervisor for Hamilton Center, Inc. With Wraparound, he worked closely with all area agencies across the 8 county service area including schools, DCS, and probation to ensure that youth and families were receiving the necessary care to reach their treatment goals.

Ms. Piatt, MSW, MT-BC, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, and later completed a Master of Social Work degree at Indiana State University. Ms. Piatt has experienced the mental health field in several setting including as a music therapist, case manager, therapist, and school based therapist. She has worked with families, individuals struggling with substance use disorders, and youth. Her clinical interests are in Trauma Informed Care, Cognitive Behavioral theory, and expressive therapies.

Ms. Uhlman, MA, LMHCA received a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from Oklahoma State University and later went on to complete a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston University School of Medicine. She has significant experiences in community education and outreach, clinical research on serious mental illness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and crisis management for those struggling with suicidal ideations. Her clinical interests are in working with justice-involved populations and people struggling with paranoia and psychosis. Her theoretical orientation includes elements of acceptance and commitment therapy, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed care.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN. Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

New program helps young adults in Clay, Sullivan and Vigo Counties build life skills

Young adults in Clay, Vigo and Sullivan counties are invited to participate in a free program where they will learn about cooking, resume-building, home repairs and more.

The Life Project, a new program from Hamilton Center, Inc., is designed to teach and enhance the life skills of young adults, age 14 to 26 years old. Through weekly group meetings, individuals will not only learn more about things such as cooking, cleaning, job searching, interpersonal skills and home repairs, but they will also graduate from the class with many items that they will need to put that new knowledge to work, including a tool kit, crockpot, laundry supplies and more.

“The primary goal of the program is to give young adults the skills, confidence and tools that they need to make positive choices and live successfully as they transition into adulthood,” said Sabrina Harroll, Grant Facilitator of The Life Project at Hamilton Center, Inc.

In addition to providing daily living skills for young adults, the program also hopes to serve as a way to help prevent, and provide early intervention for, youth mental health disorders in our community.

According to research done by Dr. Jay Giedd at the National Institute of Mental Health, puberty to early adulthood is the final critical stage of blooming and pruning cells in the brain, similar to that seen in the early years of life. For many young adults, these brain changes come at a time when they are also experiencing changes in friendships, social roles, self-esteem, hormones, and challenging expectations.

With so many transitions and new stressors, puberty to early adulthood is an especially vulnerable time for teens’ mental health. In Indiana, suicide has been the second-leading cause of death for Indiana youth between the ages of 15 and 24 since 2009, with one in five youth considering suicide in the past year – the highest percentage in the nation. Here in west central Indiana, there are additional stressors, with Sullivan, Clay, and Vigo counties all ranking above the state average in unemployment, single-parent households, and Children In Need of Services (CHINS).

“Many of our youth are experiencing significant challenges, which puts them at higher risk for mental health disorders, substance abuse, and high-risk behaviors,” Harroll said. “In addition to the basic living skills, we hope that this program will help our youth develop the critical thinking, conflict resolution, communication, problem-solving, and coping skills that they need as they navigate their teenage years and then make the transition out of school and into the real world.”

Hamilton Center is currently accepting applications for The Life Project, which will teach daily living and life skills to youth, ages 14 to 26 years of age, who reside in Vigo, Clay, and Sullivan counties. These group-based services will support the growth of independent living skills, employment, and interpersonal skills. Any youth, ages 14-26 years old, are eligible to apply, and the program is completely free of charge. Groups for The Life Project begin in early January and late March of 2020.

For more information, or to enroll, contact Sabrina Harroll at (812)231-8328 or sharrol@hamiltoncenter.org.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses,

Hamilton Center Inc. Announces New Program Manager for Parke & Vermillion Satellie Offices

Hamilton Center, Inc. welcomes Stacie Ammerman, BSW, as Program Manager for the Parke satellite office located at 215 Jackson St. in Rockville, IN, and for the Vermillion satellite office located at 510 S Main St. in Clinton, IN.

Ms. Ammerman is from the area and graduated from Indiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She has worked with children and adolescents in many capacities, including through Wraparound where she worked closely with all area agencies including schools, DCS, and probation to ensure that youth and families were receiving the necessary care to reach their treatment goals. Previously Ms. Ammerman was the Program Manager for Child & Adolescent Services in Terre Haute, IN, where she gained significant insight and experience into the field of mental and behavioral health services.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

The Holiday Blues

The holiday season is meant to be a time for joy, but for some it can be a time of challenges for the mind and the spirit. Some call it the “holiday blues” or the “winter blues,” but it might be a symptom of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is a disorder in which an individual experiences extended bouts of sadness or depression, often for days or weeks at a time, most likely spurred by the change in season.

In the fall, days become shorter and we get less sun light, causing a disruption in our body’s internal clock. Some experience a drop in serotonin as a result of reduced exposure to the sun. Serotonin is a brain chemical that affects mood and, when reduced, can lead to bouts of depression. In addition, sleeping habits might be affected by a decrease in melatonin, a brain chemical that plays a role in sleep and mood. Combined, these physical symptoms will often lead to unhealthy sleep cycles, reduced exercise or physical activity, and a change in eating habits, creating a toxic cycle of stressors for the human body and mind.

Aside from the change in environment, or the physical stressors, the holiday season undoubtedly spurs a change in our emotional stress levels as well. Culturally, the holiday season is meant for family traditions, celebration, and togetherness, all of which are supposed to inspire positive thoughts and emotions. However, some are faced with specific emotional challenges during this time, like the passing of a loved one, financial difficulties, major health concerns, or even isolation. Whatever the negative emotion may be, heavy hearts or feelings of depression and isolation can be signs of seasonal affective disorder, or even depression.

The good news is, planning for these days can help. Recognizing what factors make one sad and using specific practices can assist in dealing with holiday blues. Recognizing when to get clinical help and separating holiday blues from clinical depression is important and should be kept in mind when dealing with self or family and friends around us. Knowing the difference can help us intervene when needed for our own health and for the health of loved ones.

Some tips to help deal with holiday blues can include:

  • Volunteer: Helping others is a great mood lifter. Volunteering at local schools, neighborhood organizations, and clubs can create positive feelings of purpose and alleviate sadness.
  • Avoid idle time: If you know that idle time is difficult for you, plan ahead. Fill your calendar with events that are fun for you. Engage in activities that will help lessen sad feelings. Reach out to positive friends. Also, plan ahead to visit places of interest and relaxation for you.
  • Confide in someone: Talk about your feelings. It helps to understand why you feel the way you do.
  • Catch sun and exercise: Cold winter and limited sunlight can add to seasonal symptoms of depression. Exercise and catching sunlight can be helpful with depressed mood and low energy.

If a loved one has the blues or seems depressed, include them in your activities, invite them out, and encourage them to talk about their feelings and to seek help if they are having significant symptoms which concern you of their well-being.

Holiday blues are temporary and mild but can unleash symptoms of clinical depression. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in yourself and loved ones as prompt help can be lifesaving. Individuals should be concerned and seek appropriate clinical help if they:

  • lose pleasure or interest in most activities
  • start to feel worthless
  • feel excessive guilt
  • notice significant changes in sleep or appetite
  • have suicidal feelings

It is important to take the signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder seriously. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to problems if it’s not treated. If you think you or a loved one may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder, it’s important to reach out and get help through a doctor or therapist.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit regional health system in central and west central Indiana. The Organization is building hope and changing lives through a broad array of health service for people during their entire lifecycle, birth through older adulthood. Services are individualized, trauma-informed, and evidence-based.

For more information contact 812-231-8323 or visit www.hamiltoncenter.org.

Infinity House Awarded Clubhouse International Accreditation

The Infinity House, a Clubhouse program sponsored and supported by Hamilton Center Inc., has been awarded accreditation through Clubhouse International, by achieving fidelity to the International Standards for Clubhouse Programs.

Clubhouse International identifies mental illnesses as a leading cause of disability and that one in four people around the world suffer from mental disorders, more than cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

The organization also identifies isolation as a major cause of the progression of mental illnesses.

“Isolation often occurs when individuals feel they don’t fit in with society or are too afraid to face rejection and the many social stigmas of mental illness,” said BJ Steadman, Program Manager, Hamilton Center, Inc. “Individuals will stop connecting with friends, stay inside more frequently, and seek a safe controlled environment, often leading to loneliness and many other negative thoughts, including suicide.”

The Clubhouse model is an evidence-based practice that creates a peer driven environment for the members. It promotes socialization, engagement, and skill building which are areas that many individuals recovering from mental health issues lack in their lives. The only qualifications for being a member is being 18 years or older and having a history of mental health issues. There are no fees and a membership never expires.

“Infinity House exists to give adults with mental illnesses the opportunity to live meaningful and productive lives by helping each person integrate into their community,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO, Hamilton Center, Inc. “Inclusion, regular activities and access to housing and employment are some of the key functions of a Clubhouse.” he added.

Every year, Infinity House hosts a Thanksgiving Day celebration and meal. Holiday hours for Thanksgiving Day are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., November 28, 2019 with Thanksgiving lunch served at 12:00 p.m. Hamilton Center invites those interested in becoming a member of Infinity House to join.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Hours of operation for the Infinity House are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with lunch served at noon every day.

For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

Local NWTF Chapter Giving Donations to Families in Community

Terre Haute, Indiana – The Sycamore Ridge Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is raising the spirits of needy families in the community by providing food for Thanksgiving dinners. Through the Turkey Hunters Care program, the Sycamore Ridge Chapter is providing two hundred (200) turkeys to families in the area to help complete the traditional Thanksgiving dinners. This has been possible through the assistance of the following community partners – Terre Haute Chevrolet, Central Indiana Asphalt, Roly Poly, Simms Painting Co., Inc., Cattail Hollow Farm, LLC, Premier Auto Source, Blackburn Collision, Case Building Solutions, Eric Slack and Lisa Gibson, The VanHook Family, Koch Farms, Friends of Koch Farms, Prairie Grove Hunting Preserve, Dr. Daniel Kellar, Andy and Brandi Sereno, Mike and Jan Sereno, Terry and Donna Horner, Kenny Bayless and Walmart.

Volunteers with the Sycamore Ridge Chapter are distributing one hundred (100) frozen domestic turkeys to the Hamilton Center and one hundred (100) to Manna from Seven, the equivalent of 2,000 meals this year. The turkeys were distributed to these organizations on November 22, 2019 to help ensure families in the area will have a Thanksgiving to remember. This brings the total number of birds donated to 1,715 since 2009. In those eleven years with the assistance of our partners we have provided an estimated fifteen to twenty thousand meals to those in need.

“Family is the focus for many during the holiday season. We can help less fortunate families enjoy time with each other by eliminating some of their worries,” said NWTF CEO Becky Humphries. “Turkey Hunters Care is a great way for the NWTF’s committed volunteers to help these families during some of the most celebrated holidays of the year. Our mission is one of service, and that service begins by showing how much we care for our communities.”

The NWTF is a nonprofit conservation organization that works daily to further its mission of conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage. Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, spending more than $372 million to conserve 2,572,802 acres of habitat for all types of wildlife and introducing 1,277,936 people to the outdoors since 2012.

To become a member of the NWTF or join the Sycamore Ridge Chapter, contact Cinda Inman at 765.744.5460 or Indcindy@gmail.com .

Collaboration between Hamilton Center and Courts Results in Hundreds of Second Chances

Celebration of 20 years of PAIR

On Friday November 22, 2019 Hamilton Center hosted a celebration of the Psychiatric Assertive Identification and Referral (PAIR) program, which has served the community for 20 years. PAIR is a Terre Haute City Court diversion program designed to address the needs of people with mental illness who have been charged with misdemeanors, or minor criminal offenses.

One of the first programs of its kind in Indiana, the Vigo County PAIR program started in late 1999 through a collaboration between Terre Haute City Court and the community mental health center, Hamilton Center, Inc. Key players in the creation of the program include Judge David Bolk, formerly of the Terre Haute City Court; former Prosecutor, now Judge Sarah Mullican, of the Circuit Court and Superior Court 3; Virgil Macke, LCSW, LCAC, therapist at Hamilton Center; and David Green, former Case Manager at Hamilton Center.

“It was important that we work to address the underlying mental health or substance abuse issues of those who were arrested due to those illnesses,” said Judge Bolk, formerly of the Terre Haute City Court. “Our goal was twofold – decrease the burden on the courts, jail, and budgets while helping people get the help they need to be successful in the community,” he added.

In the 20 years of PAIR, the program has served over 800 individuals and grown from serving groups as small as a just a few individuals to serving 65 participants last year, and an estimated 85 in 2019. Misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of one year, and with a 75 percent success rate the program allows individuals charged with a misdemeanor to opt into mental health treatment rather than serve jail time. Once treatment is completed, as prescribed by the courts, charges are dropped and records unaffected.

“The program works under the philosophy that that people who receive mental health services in lieu of incarceration, can achieve recovery and not reoffend,” said Judge Matthew Sheehan, currently of the Terre Haute City Court. “Ultimately we are working to decrease recidivism, burdens on the courts, and use of tax dollars,” he added.

Additionally, the program has acted as the foundation and spring-board for many other court problem solving and diversion programs including Adult Mental Health Court (similar to PAIR but for those with felonies), Drug Court, and Veteran’s Court.

“All of these problem solving courts are giving hundreds of individuals’ second chances to turn their lives around and be active and productive members of their communities,” said Melvin L. Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center.  “It is critical we give people second chances,” he added.

“I am appreciative to our criminal justice partners who understand that mental health issues need addressed, and that recovery is possible,” said Virgil Macke, therapist at Hamilton Center and PAIR Coordinator.  “It takes strong collaboration to be successful in a program like this,” he added.