Hamilton Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Commemorates half-century of efforts to improve mental health care

Terre Haute, IN – In 2021, Hamilton Center, Inc. commemorates its 50th anniversary. Founded in 1971, originally as Katherine Hamilton Mental Health Center, the organization has served communities and individuals across west central Indiana with progressive and community-focused behavioral health services.


“Hamilton Center, with the help of committed community partners, has advanced behavioral health and addiction treatment,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “Our long standing philosophy of “least restrictive care” has assisted those with severe mental illnesses and chronic addiction issues to live successfully and independently in their home communities. Hope has often been restored, quality of life enhanced, and in many cases, lives have been saved.”


Then and Now:

In the late 1950’s, Katherine Hamilton, like many caregivers during that time, was faced with the reality of an inadequate mental health system that focused on institutionalized care. Her sister was struggling with severe mental illness (schizophrenia), and professionals did not provide much hope. After handing her sister over to a long-term care facility, with minimal knowledge or influence over the quality of care she would receive, she began to work to improve conditions and services for those with mental illnesses. Her work nationally and statewide would serve as a foundation for progress in treatment.


After the Community Mental Health Center Act passed in 1963, Indiana began working to establish community based treatment. After immense community organizing and fundraising, the Katherine Hamilton Mental Health Center opened its doors at 620 8th Ave, Terre Haute in February 1971. People in the area were now able to seek services close to home rather than traveling to larger cities.


“That history, is the story of citizens, volunteers and professionals… infused with the belief that mental illness was a major illness in a community and that the dire lack of facilities of treament could be corrected. They believed that through community organization, this could be accomplished.”

-History of Hamilton Center

Key historical highlights include:
• 1967 Katherine Hamilton Mental Health Center became a not-for-profit corporation
• 1971 Main campus opened – 620 8th Ave.
• 1972 Developmental disability services added
• 1973 Clay, Parke, Sullivan, and Vermillion Counties offices opened
• 1975 Greene County office opened
• 1976 Children’s services offered
• 1978 Residential services added
• 1981 Katherine Hamilton Mental Health Center changed to Hamilton Center Inc.
• 1986 Employment services added
• 1987 Child & Adolescent Services moves to new 500 8th Ave. building
• 1993 Healthy Families program opened
• 1995 Owen County services established
• 1995 Early Head Start services established
• 1997 Indianapolis office opened
• 1998 Putnam County office opened
• 2000 Bloomfield office opened
• 2012 HCI Foundation created
• 2017 Clubhouse services began
• 2018 WIN Recovery opened in Vigo County
• 2019 Grace Clinic Health Professional opened
• 2020 WIN Recovery offices opened in Knox and Hendricks Counties
• 2020 FQHC Look-Alike designation
• 2020 Received Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) grant


Since 1971, Hamilton Center, Inc. has pursued a mission to provide quality behavioral healthcare, wellness, and human development services to the community by expanding behavioral health services to 21 locations across 11 counties in west central Indiana. Today, employing over 650 individuals, this regional organization has grown to include a comprehensive system of care including whole person wellness through integrated behavioral and primary healthcare services and a large menu of programs serving children and families. In addition, Hamilton Center hosts a number of beloved community events, support drives, and social justice initiatives further advancing its vision of excellence in behavioral health services through compassion, customer responsiveness, innovation, and flexibility.


“I speak for every employee, current and past, when I say thank you central and west central Indiana for your support and the privilege of serving our communities,” said Burks.


A Golden Year of Celebrations:


In celebration of its achievements, Hamilton Center will host a series of exciting opportunities to share with the community the milestones and challenges of the last half-century while looking forward to future opportunities. Here is what to look for:


• Proclamation of Hamilton Center, Inc. Day – On February 18, Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennet will be a guest on Facebook Live with Melvin L, and recognize Hamilton Center, Inc. for its 50 years of commitment to improving access and care to those struggling with mental illness.

• Free suicide prevention training to community organizations. To learn more go to trainingourcommunity.org.


• Moments in Time: Hamilton Center through the Years – Throughout the year, themed in accordance with national holidays and monthly observances, the organization will release content across a variety of platforms recognizing significant advances in behavioral healthcare and its own corporate history.


• The Annual Hamilton Awards Dinner – Hamilton Center, Inc. will conduct nominations for the Hamilton Awards beginning in fall of 2021, announcing winners on October 26, 2021 at the Annual Dinner. More information about the event will be released in early fall.

How to Get the Most Out of Telehealth

Hamilton Center offers tips for success

Telehealth has proven to be a convenient means for patients to interact with health care professionals; this is true for both our physical and mental health concerns.

Even so, telehealth can be uniquely delicate.

The best of sessions can feel “normal” and just like any other routine visit. Other sessions might end up feeling “tricky” or “clumsy”. The important thing to realize is that you are not alone in that experience and there are ways to improve it.

Here are some “tips and tricks” to improve your telehealth session and maximize your connection with your provider:

Do a mic check and a camera check before things start. Make sure that your provider can hear and see you clearly. No matter the device you are using always try to keep it stationary; use a table or a shelf and refrain from holding it in your hand; shoulder height is optimal. If internet connection is an issue move closer to your Wi-Fi source, or turn off other devices using Wi-Fi. Don’t start until you are sure your provider can hear and see you.

Create a quiet environment and minimize the potential for distraction. Perhaps go into a room and shut the door or let those around you know that you will be unavailable for a short time. Distractions can easily disrupt the process and progress of a telehealth session. Both you and your provider are there to discuss your physical and mental health needs, so give them your undivided attention.

Have your prescriptions, insurance information, and health history on-hand to review with the provider, as needed. The provider will need this information to properly complete the assessment. If you do not have specific information take notes and follow up after the session.

Be forward and up-front with your provider about your current physical and mental well-being. Thoroughly inform them of the specific issues you are having, including how those issues might be affecting other aspects of your health. Physical and mental health are closely connected; if you are in need of more specialized care your provider can refer you.

Make sure you and your provider are on the same page by checking-in mid-session. Ask questions. If something is unclear, or you have other concerns or comments, don’t be afraid to have your provider go back over them or elaborate further. Even repeating your provider’s instructions or comments as you understand them can go a long way in establishing clear communication. Try not to let the stress of technology or social distancing keep you from addressing your healthcare needs.

Telehealth is a powerful tool that everyone can use to ensure healthful outcomes in interactions with their providers.

Hamilton Center is open and currently serving the community with the highest quality mental and behavioral health services, as well as primary and integrated care services. If you or someone you know is struggling, please call 1-800-742-0787.

Telehealth Utilization is Up, Likely Here to Stay

Hamilton Center sees positive trends

Earlier this year the Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that telehealth interactions had increased from nine percent, prior to the pandemic, to 51 percent, during quarantine. Similarly, the CDC recently reported a 50 percent increase in telehealth services during the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period of 2019. The vast majority of those cases were unrelated to COVID-19; however, there was a whopping 154 percent increase in telehealth sessions in the last week of March of 2020, marking the start of the rise of COVID-19 cases in the US and social distancing guidelines.

Telehealth services had been utilized for years by Hamilton Center, mainly as a way to connect with hospitals to provide psychiatric consultation.  This was particularly important in rural areas where providers were at a minimum.  Recently, telehealth services have grown to be the primary way people are receiving treatment. “Telehealth has been an excellent tool in addressing the needs of rural communities with limited access to healthcare, including for both primary health and behavioral health,” said Mark Collins, Chief Clinical Officer at Hamilton Center, Inc. “During COVID-19 the structures and systems we created to meet those demands have really assisted us in transitioning towards telehealth.”

Much of the rapid increases in telehealth services can be explained by the demands of the pandemic and the need to social distance; however, certain federal privacy regulations have become more flexible and broadened access to telehealth services to include video conferencing and telephonic conferencing, all with the goal of meeting COVID-19 demands. In person services are still available for emergency situations and when a face to face appointment is needed.

HHS also reported that while telehealth is expected to fall post-COVID-19, it’s also expected to level out at a much higher proportion of all delivery methods; around 21 percent of all delivered services. In addition, a recent national poll conducted by Morning Consult estimates that around 23 percent of all adults utilized telehealth during COVID-19.

“Towards the beginning, telehealth was relatively new to our patients and even some providers,” said Collins. “Now though, telehealth, for both primary and behavioral healthcare, is pulling its own weight in service delivery. In many ways we have seen patients become more accustomed to telehealth and even be drawn to it for convenience.”

In FY21 the organization delivered 23 percent of all services via telehealth, which included the first several months of the pandemic and quarantine. Today, many months into the pandemic, Hamilton Center delivers the majority of outpatient services via telehealth and continues to serve patients through in-person services when clinically appropriate, throughout its traditional 10-county service area.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana headquartered in Terre Haute, IN. Services include specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people with drug and alcohol problems. Counseling services are provided for 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.

To access services call 1-800-742-0787 or visit hamiltoncenter.org.

Want to learn more about how to get the most out of your telehealth session? Click here.

Local Students Raise Nearly $7,000 in Funds for Suicide Prevention

Giana White (left) and Jillian Turner (right), co-managers of the Color Run to Save Lives, present a check to Melvin L Burks (center), CEO of Hamilton Center, in support of suicide prevention and mental health services. The event took place in early November and gathered 150 participants and 20 volunteers, raising nearly seven thousand dollars.
Giana White (left) and Jillian Turner (right), co-managers of the Color Run to Save Lives, present a check to Melvin L Burks (center), CEO of Hamilton Center, in support of suicide prevention and mental health services. The event took place in early November and gathered 150 participants and 20 volunteers, raising nearly seven thousand dollars.

Hamilton Center, Inc. has received $6991.34 as the beneficiary of The Color Run to Save Lives, created and managed by Jillian Turner and Giana White of Terre Haute South Vigo High School. The event took place on November 7, 2020 at Fairbanks Park in Terre Haute, IN, gathering together 150 participants and 20 volunteers.

“Mental health is more relevant than ever, during covid-19,” said Jillian Turner, event co-manager and DECA student at Terre Haute South High School. “We are all so thankful for everyone who came out in support of suicide prevention.”

According to the Center for Disease Control the rate of deaths by suicide for the first quarter of 2020, and before the start of the pandemic, were already up from the previous year. In fact, Hamilton Center has seen an increase in mental health services related to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

“One of the goals of this event was to end the stigma around mental illness, and to further the conversation around suicide prevention,” said Giana White, event co-manager and DECA student at Terre Haute South Vigo High School. “We want any individuals who may be struggling with their mental health to know that they are not alone and that help is out there.”

“These two young ladies have really shown a heart for serving others, and for talking about the hard things, like mental health,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center. “We appreciate all of their efforts, the community’s efforts, and that of our community partners to create a meaningful and safe event for such an important cause.”

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana headquartered in Terre Haute Services include specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people with drug and alcohol problems. Counseling services are provided for 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.

Terre Haute Organizations Receive Lilly Endowment Grants

Terre Haute, IN – Chances And Services for Youth, Hamilton Center, Reach Services and the Terre Haute Children’s Museum have received grants totaling $254,000 through the Youth Program Resilience Fund of Lilly Endowment, Inc.

These local not-for-profits will use the grants to cover a range of pandemic-related expenses that include:

• purchasing sanitation supplies, personal protective equipment and materials needed to promote social-distancing
• modest site modifications so organizations can deliver safe programs and services during the pandemic
• improving technology to support remote learning, engagement and information sharing due to decreased in-person activities
• meeting increased general operating expenses, including hiring more staff to lower staff-to-child ratios and more planning and training about new safety protocols
• engaging consultants to strengthen support for youth and their families most deeply affected by the pandemic, including referrals to wrap-around services and for mental health services

With this support, these organizations are better able to continue their commitment to meeting their missions during a time when they are needed now more than ever.

“We are all grateful to the Lilly Endowment to receive these grant dollars at this critical time in our history. All of these organizations are committed to making Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley a wonderful place to call home,” Susan Turner, executive director, Terre Haute Children’s Museum, said. “These funds help ensure we are able to continue our missions and provide services to those who need them most. In addition, I’m really proud to see our names on this list with some of the best from across the state.”

“Lilly Endowment is continually responsive to community needs and working to improve the quality of life in Indiana. We are grateful for their mission and work,” said Melvin L. Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center Inc. “This grant will allow us to support children and families during a very challenging time.”

The grants to CASY, Hamilton Center, Reach Services and THCM represent four of the 297 grants that Lilly Endowment has made through the Youth Program Resilience Fund to help youth-serving organizations across Indiana adapt their work to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants from this fund are part of more than $170 million in grants Lilly Endowment has made to help organizations serve individuals and communities amid the pandemic.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion, and it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

2020 Hamilton Awards Celebrates Leaders in Community

Highlights Nominees’ Focus on Community

Terre Haute, IN – Hamilton Center, Inc. hosted the annual Hamilton Awards Dinner Tuesday, October 27 at the Sycamore Banquet Center, on the campus of Indiana State University. The event highlighted fiscal year 2020 accomplishments and recognized those nominated for Hamilton Awards. The theme for the event was Community and featured Hamilton Center’s role in the community especially during COVID-19.

“This pandemic has caused Hamilton Center to re-engineer how services could be delivered safely and effectively,” said, Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “I am proud of our staff for finding creative solutions, sticking to our proactive plan and ensuring consumers are supported.”

“I am also so humbled by the contribution of all of the Hamilton Award nominees.  Lives have been enhanced and our community has benefited greatly from their work,” he added. 

Katherine Hamilton, for whom the Center and awards are named, fought for the inclusion, acceptance and support of those struggling with mental illness in the early 1960’s. She emphasized the importance of community in her life’s work. In this spirit, Hamilton Awards were created to recognize individuals and organizations who have significantly contributed to the cause of mental health and addiction while furthering the mission of Hamilton Center, Inc. Nominees were recognized in the categories of Hamilton Center staff, Community, and Volunteer. Winners are as follows:

Hamilton Award, Staff

Mark Collins Nominated for his 16 years of service, steadfast leadership in uncertain times, and unwavering commitment to the safety of consumers and staff. Mr. Collins began his career as a case manager in 2004 and worked his way up in the corporation to his current position of Chief Clinical Officer, where he exemplifies dedication, integrity and servanthood in ensuring Hamilton Center meets all standards of care.

Hamilton Award, Community Service

Casey Brown & Family, Mask Makers of the Wabash Valley – Nominated for their public service during the COVID-19 pandemic by manufacturing of over 14,000 masks. In the face of adversity during the pandemic, they turned their energy toward doing something positive to help others.  They made much needed masks for first responders, medical personnel and mental health workers – including Hamilton Center employees, consumers and their families. Their efforts demonstrated what it means to be a part of a community. Their spirit and service to others is a beacon of hope in troubling times.

Hamilton Award, Outstanding Volunteer Service

DeAnna Griffin – Nominated for her involvement in the Wabash Valley Recovery Alliance and tireless service to those struggling with addiction, in recovery, and those currently involved in the legal system. Ms. Griffin spends a significant portion of her personal time providing transportation to those in need to attend important appointments such as doctor’s visits, DCS meetings, court dates, and even work. Described by her nominator as “simply the most giving and selfless woman I have had the pleasure of working with”, Ms. Griffin often works 15 hour days to further the message of recovery.

In addition to the Hamilton Awards, two individuals were recognized with Frank W. Jerse awards. This award, named in memory of Frank W. Jerse, is given to a community member who is a veteran or supported military families or who has significantly contributed to the community.  Dr. Jerse served during World War II, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and received a purple heart.  In addition, Dr. Jerse dedicated much of his career furthering post-secondary education at Indiana State University.  Lastly, he was a major contributor to the establishment of Hamilton Center.

This year, two individuals received Jerse Awards. The first recipient is Mr. Oscar Session, a 36-year educator who started his career as a teacher and ended it as an elementary school principal. After retiring from a fruitful career in education, he has been involved in various community organizations, including the Spruce Street A.M.E. Church, The Terre Haute Wabash Valley Foundation Board, United Child Care Board, Young Men’s Civic Club, and the local NAACP. A primary focus of his efforts has been in education and working to prepare youth for employment in the Terre Haute.

The second recipient of the Jerse award is Randy Steven, MD, who began working at Hamilton Center in 1972 as a Mental Health Technician and currently works as a physician on the clinical staff. He attended Indiana State University School of Medicine and has had a long career of leadership in the medical field in the area. Besides being active at Union Hospital and Hamilton Center in a medical capacity, he has been the volunteer medical director of St Ann’s Clinic and Hospice of the Wabash Valley.  He has always had a special interest in addiction medicine and has worked with local and State leaders to further the field. Lastly, he is a veteran who served in Vietnam. 

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana. Services are provided to adolescents and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people with drug and alcohol problems. Counseling services are provided for 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.

WIN Recovery, Hendricks – Now Open

Hamilton Center, Inc.’s Certified Opioid Treatment Program to serve adults with opioid use disorder

October 26, 2020 Plainfield, IN- Hamilton Center, Inc., an Indiana community mental health center, is now accepting patients at its newest opioid treatment program (OTP) facility, WIN Recovery, located at 401 Plainfield Commons Dr., Plainfield, IN.  This clinic is the third clinic opened by Hamilton Center.  Other clinics are located in Terre Haute and Vincennes.

The clinic will provide comprehensive treatment for adults 18 years of age and older who are struggling with addiction to heroin or other opioids such as prescription pain medication. The program provides daily medication (Methadone) coupled with individual and group therapy and case management services to treat each individual’s unique needs.

The office will be open from 6:00 am – 2:30 pm. New patients are welcome to walk in without an appointment between 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 pm or can call toll free 833-232-0215 or 317-268-2941 to make an appointment. The clinic is open 7 days a week including weekend and holidays.

Methadone is a medication administered daily under monitored, controlled conditions. It has been utilized for years with a great deal of research determining its safety and effectiveness. Once patients begin taking methadone at appropriate levels, withdrawal is avoided, cravings are minimized and physical and mental stabilization occurs. “That is when the real recovery begins,” said Jessica Nevill, LMHC, WIN Recovery’s Clinical Director. 

Hamilton Center, Inc. secured a license from the State of Indiana to open the Hendricks county opioid treatment program in November 2018. The $500,000 construction/renovation project concluded this month. The facility is nearly 6,000 square feet, includes nearly 1300 square foot of waiting area and six bathrooms. The clinical area offers six medication-dosing stations, separate drug screening rooms, one medical examination room, 14 offices and two group-counseling rooms. Black and white photography of local landmarks adorn the walls, which were secured through assistance from the Knox County Public Library and Terre Haute photographer Wayne Jordan.

In 2018, 70 percent of all drug overdoses involved an opioid. In that same year, there were 65.8 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons, 14.4 more prescriptions per 100 persons than the national average of 51.4.

“Unfortunately Indiana residents have been greatly impacted by the opioid epidemic, certainly more so than many other states,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. and Program Sponsor of WIN Recovery. “We are truly privileged to partner with the State in their goal of establishing one of these programs within an hour’s drive any person in our state.”

“This facility is not only providing treatment to individuals with opioid use disorder, but is also offering education to the community and combatting the many stigmas associated with opioid use disorder,” said DJ Rhodes, Chief of Opioid Treatment at Hamilton Center Inc.  “At WIN Recovery we believe that Opioid Use Disorder is a disease; treatment works and recovery is possible,” he added.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana. The organization provides service regionally to 12,000 clients annually.  For additional information on Hamilton Center Inc., call 800-742-0787. For additional information on WIN Recovery, call (833) 232-0215 or visit winrecovery.org.

The Hamilton Awards Dinner: Focusing on Community

October 27, 2020 Virtual Event

Hamilton Center will host the annual Hamilton Awards Dinner Tuesday, October 27 at the Sycamore Banquet Center, on the campus of Indiana State University. This year, due to social distancing guidelines, the event will be a small private dinner, however the community is invited to watch it live on Hamilton Center’s Facebook page-   facbook.com/HamiltonCenterInc/ starting at 6:30 p.m.

The event will highlight fiscal year 2020 accomplishments and recognize those nominated for a Hamilton Award. The theme for the event is Community and will feature Hamilton Center’s role in the community especially during COVID-19. “Community is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals,” said, Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “This year, in the face of adversity caused by COVID-19, I think our community truly embodied this definition and came together as one.”

Katherine Hamilton, fought for the inclusion, acceptance and support of those struggling with mental illness in the early 1960’s. She emphasized the importance of community in her life’s work. In this spirit, Hamilton Center awards were created to recognize individuals and organizations who have significantly contributed to the cause of mental health and addiction while furthering the mission of Hamilton Center, Inc. in the community. Nominees will be recognized in the categories of volunteer, community, and Hamilton Center staff.  Winners will be announced that evening.

Volunteer Category: Deanna Griffin, The Avenues Recovery (Vigo).

Community Category: The Ruth House (Sullivan); United Way of the Wabash Valley (Vigo); Team of Mercy (Vigo); CODA of Terre Haute (Vigo); Covered with Love, Inc. (Vigo); Casey Brown & Family, Mask Makers of the Wabash Valley (Vigo); Charles Townsend, The Connection Center (Owen); Dr. Megan Kirk, Vigo County School Corporation (Vigo); Keith Rogers, Vigo County Drug Court (Vigo); Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen, Owen County Judge (Owen); and Sherri Koertge, Save-A-Lot (Vigo).

Staff Category: Stacie Amerman, Program Manager (Parke); Jairon Jones, Care Manager, Vigo County Outpatient Program (Vigo); Cynthia Dowers, Executive Director of Nursing Services (Vigo); Matt Duchene, Intensive Community Treatment Program Manager (Vigo); Mark Collins, Chief Clinical Officer (Vigo); Katherine Kinney, Care Manager, Vigo County Outpatient Program (Vigo), LeeAnn Pruiett, RN, Lange Apartments (Vigo); Margie Grayless, Program Manager, Healthy Families (Vigo); and Nicole LeClercq, Program Assistant, WIN Recovery (Vigo).

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in central and west central Indiana. Services are provided to children, adolescents and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people with drug and alcohol problems. Counseling services are provided for 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.

WIN Recovery, Hendricks County Ribbon Cutting

Hamilton Center, Inc.’s Certified Opioid Treatment Program to serve adults with opioid use disorder

October 16, 2020 Plainfield, IN- Hamilton Center, Inc., an Indiana community mental health center, announced the opening of its newest certified opioid treatment program, WIN Recovery at 401 Plainfield Commons Dr., Plainfield, IN.  This clinic is the third clinic opened by Hamilton Center.  Other clinics are located in Terre Haute and Vincennes. 

The Hendricks county clinic is awaiting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) certification which is estimated to occur early next week. Once secured the office will be open for patients.

Hamilton Center Inc. secured a license from the State of Indiana to open the Hendricks county opioid treatment program in November, 2018. The $500,000 construction/renovation project concluded this month.   The facility is nearly 6,000 square feet, includes nearly 1300 square foot of waiting area and six bathrooms. The clinical area offers six medication-dosing stations, separate drug screening rooms, one medical examination room, 14 offices and two group counseling rooms. Black and white photography of local landmarks adorn the walls, which were secured through assistance from the Knox County Public Library and Terre Haute photographer Wayne Jordan.

The clinic will provide comprehensive treatment for adults 18 years of age and older who are struggling with addiction to heroin or other opioids such as prescription pain medication. The program provides daily medication (Methadone) coupled with individual and group therapy and case management services to treat each individual’s unique needs.

 “We are privileged to serve the Hendricks county community and those communities in the surrounding area,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “Our facility offers a professional environment where those struggling with opioid addictions can seek help and receive safe, effective treatment.”

“Governor Eric Holcomb and I thank Hamilton Center, Inc. for helping us move closer to our goal of placing an opioid treatment program within an hour’s drive of every Hoosier,” said Douglas Huntsinger, Indiana Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement. “As Hoosiers work to recover from this disease, it is extremely important that we continue to expand access to the full continuum of care for substance use disorder in Indiana, including access to medication for opioid use disorder.”

The office will be open from 6:00 am – 2:30 pm.  New patients are welcome to walk in without an appointment between 6:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. or can call toll free 833-232-0215 or 317-268-2941 to make an appointment. The clinic is open 7 days a week including weekend and holidays.

Methadone is a medication administered daily under monitored, controlled conditions. It has been utilized for years with a great deal of research determining its safety and effectiveness. Once patients begin taking methadone at appropriate levels, withdrawal is avoided, cravings are minimized and physical and mental stabilization occurs. “That is when the real recovery begins,” said Jessica Nevill, LMHC, WIN Recovery’s Clinical Director. 

“The combination of medication and behavioral health interventions is the most effective in combating this disease,” said DJ Rhodes, Chief of Opioid Treatment at Hamilton Center Inc.  “Opioid Use Disorder is a disease; treatment works and recovery is absolutely possible,” he added.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana. The organization provides service regionally to 13,000 clients annually.  For additional information on Hamilton Center Inc., call 800-742-0787. For additional information on WIN Recovery call (833) 232-0215 or visit www.winrecovery.org.

Hamilton Center Adapts to Meet Needs of Community, Those in Crisis

Focuses on coordination of care for those with mental illness.

Hamilton Center, Inc. was established as a community mental health center in 1971, and as such has been providing quality behavioral health, wellness and human development services to central and west central Indiana. The organization’s vision is to advance excellence in behavioral health services through compassion, customer responsiveness, innovation, and flexibility.

“Both our mission and our vision have always been guiding principles for our organization but took on a new light this past year, both in response to the needs of our consumers and to the needs of our community in the wake of COVID-19,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “Mental health has been placed at the forefront of the social conversation around wellness, especially since the beginning of social distancing guidelines and practices.”

In fiscal year 2020 the organization served over 12,300 individuals across its traditional 10-county service area, which expanded to 11 counties in May 2020 with the addition of Knox County’s WIN Recovery, a state certified opioid treatment program. Of those individuals served by the organization, 42 percent live in Vigo County and 79 percent of those served had incomes of less than $8,000 per year. “Hamilton Center serves some of the most vulnerable Hoosiers”, said Burks.  “We are grateful to our community partners, grantors and others for their support.” He said. 

In addition, last fiscal year, the organization delivered 264,548 outpatient visits, 5,246 inpatient days and 13,679 residential days.

Coordination of Care

In moments of crisis, no one should have to navigate the complex web of the healthcare system alone. To assist the community, individuals, and families with these issues Hamilton Center has focused efforts around coordination of care, specifically for those struggling with mental illness.

“This is a powerful goal to aspire towards, however, the resources and coordination required to make this possible for those in crisis can present a seemingly insurmountable challenge for many,” said Burks.

In response to barriers to treatment of mental and physical health conditions, the organization has made efforts to not only increase access to services but to also establish coordination of comprehensive holistic care for individuals and families.

In June 2020, the organization was awarded a two year $3.75 million grant through the Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) Expansion Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant is a part of the center’s broader strategic plan to acquire the CCBHC designation and has three primary components.

As one component of the grant, Hamilton Center will establish a 24-hr mobile crisis unit. This service will work alongside local authorities to deliver crisis services to those most in need as well as assist them in accessing services during their most vulnerable times. One of the goals of the program is to relieve some of the mental health crisis demands on local authorities and ERs. “We want to connect individuals to the most appropriate services to maximize care and recovery,” said Mark Collin, Chief Clinical Officer. “In the case of a mental health crisis, crisis management and behavioral health services are the most appropriate services.”

Last month, the mobile crisis unit began delivering services in Terre Haute, and will continue to scale gradually, with the ultimate goal of reaching an additional 475 children and adults in the next two years.

Another component is the implementation of the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model. This model of treatment, an evidence-based approach, will establish an intensive team of health professionals with a primary focus on collaboratively assisting people with serious mental illnesses in becoming independent and integrating into the community.

Additionally, the grant will enhance Hamilton Center ‘s capacity to offer mental health and primary health screenings for both children and adults. Through this integrated system of care, individuals can begin to address their issues in a holistic way, promoting higher rates of recovery and, most importantly, wellness.

“We are committed to excellence in care coordination, and we welcome additional conversations with leaders and partners committed to helping our team continue to improve along the way,” said Burks.

Integrating primary and behavioral health

Grace Clinic Health Professional now open

Removing barriers to treatment is another key component in addressing the health needs of a community. Grace Clinic Health Professional, the organization’s primary health care clinic, is now serving consumers at two locations – one at Vigo County located at 622 8th Avenue in Terre Haute, IN and the other at 239 Hillsdale Avenue, Suite A in Greencastle, IN. In August, the clinic was designated as a Federally Quality Health Center (FQHC) Look-alike by the Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). This designation allows the organization opportunities to develop and implement services required to meet the full qualifications for designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center. Together FQHCs and FQHC Look-alikes work to ensure health care for the Nation’s underserved communities and vulnerable populations through service provision to all. No one is turned away regardless of ability to pay.

Hamilton Center for years had recognized that very often those who were seeking intensive mental health or substance abuse services lacked primary care. This was due to lack of financial resources, access, transportation, or their mental illness being an obstacle for seeking other health services. At times these individuals would end up in less than appropriate levels of care such as emergency rooms.

Grace Clinic addresses these issues by providing holistic patient care, to men, women, and children who are underserved, underinsured, or without the ability to pay for quality healthcare. Experts agree that the body and mind are connected, so it is not uncommon for one’s mental health to effect other parts of the body and vice versa. Grace Clinic works to improve the overall health of patients by ensuring preventative care and early detection and management of chronic health diseases. In addition to primary care, the clinic also offers some behavioral health services and has the ability to refer to Hamilton Center for more intensive mental health and substance abuse services.

In fiscal year 2020, Hamilton Center/Grace Clinic provided 3,489 primary care visits.

Telehealth Services

Another component of the organization’s strategic plan is a continued expansion of telehealth services. Telehealth services is the use of video conferencing, electronic monitoring, and teleconferencing to deliver health services. Telehealth has exploded in the health care field. In fact, in 2017, 76 percent of all hospitals had established a telehealth system.

Limited access to health care has been a primary focus of both federal and state governments. Currently, Hamilton Center serves ten counties with behavioral health services and nine of those are considered mental health professional shortage areas (MHPSA) by HRSA. Telehealth services can be a valuable tool in those areas by perhaps having a therapist from an urban areas deliver services by telehealth to a consumer in rural Indiana where therapists are scarce.

And then came the coronavirus and social distancing guidelines which took telehealth services at Hamilton Center to new heights. From March, 2020 to the present, it is the preferred means of delivering outpatient behavioral health and substance abuse services. The organization has the majority of staff working from home who connect with clients electronically each day.  

“Telehealth has always been a valuable tool utilized by our organization, specifically in addressing the mental health needs of rural communities,” said Burks. “When COVID-19 hit, and social distancing became the way of life, our entire organization adapted to those demands quickly and efficiency.”

In fiscal year 2020, 24% of services delivered at Hamilton Center were by telehealth.

Connecting to the Community

Diversity Walk on Wheels and We Live events continue

On Saturday, August 22 the Diversity Walk-On-Wheels, pulled out of Fairbanks Park with over 120 cars parading across town to Indiana State’s Memorial Football Stadium. While at the stadium, Burks along with other dignitaries, delivered a presentation on diversity, inclusion and equity in the community, while also addressing the many Social Justice movements sweeping the country.

“The Diversity Walk was created to bring a diverse group of people together to break down barriers, build relationships and show what is possible when a community is welcoming to all,” said Burks. “Our goal was to offer individuals the opportunity to show their support for social justice in a positive and safe way.”

On Friday August 21, Hamilton Center and event sponsors, First Farmers Bank & Trust and Children’s Bureau, Inc., worked with community partners to deliver over $6,000 in schools supplies to both Benjamin Franklin and Deming Elementary Schools. Over 700 individual bags of supplies were delivered to the school for them to distribute to their student body. In addition, each school received $500 in additional support for the school year.

“On behalf of our entire organization, our board of directors and myself – from the bottom of my heart – I thank everyone for their efforts in making these events happen,” said Burks. “I consider the collaboration it took to execute these events in such complex circumstances, to be a testament to our commitment to each other.”

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Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana headquartered in Terre Haute Services include specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people with drug and alcohol problems. Counseling services are provided for 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.