Hamilton Center Serving Veterans and Families

Hamilton Center, Inc. Awarded SBHP Behavioral Health Center Designation

Hamilton Center’s Military Veteran Program (MVP) is a behavioral health and addiction treatment program aimed to provide supportive services in an evidence based treatment pathway to those who meet specific criteria for admission based on their military or veteran status.

Hamilton Center employs a Military Veteran Coordinator that assists active military, veterans, and family members throughout the treatment process. Darrin Chaney is a 21-year Veteran of the U.S. Army, 6 years active duty, and the remaining in active guard. Mr. Chaney provides assistance, support, and resources for military veterans and their families impacted by deployment, reintegration, mental health, or substance abuse issues.

Currently, Hamilton Center has trained over 300 staff members in Military Cultural Competency.  This training provides an overview of military culture to include basics about its history, organizational structure, core values, branches of the service, mission, and operations, as well as the differences between the active and reserve components.

In addition to Military Cultural Competency, 141 therapists at Hamilton Center have participated in various trainings including military culture, the impact on children and families, appropriate screenings and assessments and evidenced based treatment. 

In 2021, Star Behavioral Health Providers began offering community mental health centers an opportunity to apply for an SBHP Behavioral Health Center Designation. This designation is designed to establish a network of military-friendly behavioral health organizations. The designation assists service members, veterans, and family members who are seeking behavioral health care in identifying an organization as having a commitment to provide services to military-connected individuals, policies and procedures that show an understanding of military culture, and an assurance that clinicians have training in military culture and evidence based practices.  Each Star designation reviews policy, procedure, staff training, community outreach, and data outcomes.  The requirements build upon each other from one star to four stars.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is proud to have been awarded the Star Behavioral Health Providers One Star Designation. Hamilton Center is the first center to achieve this designation and looks forward to striving towards the Two Star Designation.

Hamilton Center recognizes the need for treatment of our military connected community members and is prepared to continuously professionally develop our clinical teams to serve those that have served our country.

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.

Related content:

Trauma Myths

Contributor: Sara Chambers, Program Manager

As the world begins to reopen, after 15 months of lockdown, mental health has become a high priority. What individuals were once able to sweep under the rug, repress, and compartmentalize has become insurmountable. The pandemic not only added to existing trauma, but has even been a root cause.

While we have come a long way in identifying trauma, we are continuously learning how it impacts individuals and their support systems. What we do know is anyone can experience trauma at any point in their lives.

One of the biggest trauma myths is that only military members can be exposed to trauma.  Research has shown that while a higher percentage of military members do qualify for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), 7-8% of civilians are also diagnosed with PTSD at any point in their lifetime. Women are also twice as likely to experience PTSD as men.

The origin of trauma is all too often misunderstood. Many believe that trauma and PTSD only impact individuals that have had near death experiences.  The truth is, trauma includes any incident that involves actual or threatened death or injury.  If a situation feels life threatening or a person feels an extreme loss of control followed by fear for their ability to survive normally, whether that feeling is accurate or not, trauma can occur. We all perceive stressful events differently. In addition to how often the trauma occurs, life experience, age, physical ability and living conditions may also contribute to making an incident traumatic. No matter who you are, the human brain reacts to threats in a physiological way over which we often have no control. When we perceive trauma, our brains engage to try to protect us without wasting a moment to decide if the threat is legitimately life threatening or not.

It is also the same in regards to how PTSD is diagnosed. Not everyone that experiences trauma has PTSD. A person may experience anxiety, grief, or even acute stress disorder, but seek recovery or have resiliency factors that they utilize before PTSD develops. Other factors that may impact a person’s reaction to trauma can include the severity of trauma, level of stress associated with the incident, genetics, how often the trauma was experienced, and how long it lasted, the individuals personal trauma history and if they experienced childhood trauma, and the individual’s support system at the time of the incident.

Finally, the myth that trauma reactions will last forever and are incurable is false. The human brain strives for equilibrium; our bodies are designed to heal over time. New treatments for trauma are being developed every day. Society is beginning to understand what trauma means, and we are learning how to support each other during distress. Behavioral health professionals are continuing to pioneer new treatments and getting people back on track and enjoying life again.

To best serve individuals who are struggling with PTSD, we as a society must challenge these myths, as they exist in ourselves and in others. A first step can be in starting a conversation about mental health and seeking knowledge on how we can help each other.

If you have experienced trauma and are having a difficult time shaking that trauma out of your mind and life, you are not alone.  Supportive groups, informational books, and helping professionals that care are available. It is possible to heal.

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.

Related content:

Moving Forward

Contributor: Dwight Weaver, Program Manager – Child & Adolescent Services

This time last year, it was hard to believe that this pandemic would cause such a disruption to our lives. That impact won’t be fully understood for years to come, but it is clear that our lives are forever changed.

As the pandemic seems to be coming to an end, it is imperative that we begin addressing the underlying mental health crisis that is still affecting children and families today. The compounded stresses and year of instability has led to an increase in the number of youth experiencing mental health issues. 

As schools closed and transitioned to virtual learning, parents who typically went to work each day were now working from home while simultaneously teaching their children.  This isolation from peers and social supports caused immense stress for our youth.

Now, as children and teens return to activities and communities reopen, our youth are beginning to regain some things lost to the pandemic. Even so, there is an acute need for mental health services to help our young people manage this transition. Moving forward we must adapt to their unique needs. Youth, who may still be learning how to appropriately express their thoughts and feelings, may have setbacks caused by the lack of social engagement. High school students have struggled with loss of traditions and milestones. All of these unique struggles can lead to negative feelings of loneliness, depression, and thoughts of suicide.

So how can we help our youth during this time?

Start with a conversation about resiliency. Resiliency factors can help us cope with changes, challenges, and complications that may arise in our life. The more resiliency we have, the better we are able to handle and overcome challenges in life. If we can support our youth with activities that build resiliency, then we can start the process of helping our youth overcome the difficulties of this past year.

Next, start moving forward. Normal may never be what it was before, but we can regain some of what was lost.  Focusing on what we can control and encouraging our youth to re-engage in activities and reconnect with their communities, families, and friends promotes a healthy lifestyle and builds resiliency too. Both are effective in helping to overcome mental health challenges.

Finally, focus on mental health. Spend quality time with family and friends.  The value of such small and simple activities cannot be overstated when it comes to your mental health. Build friendships, learn new skills, and socialize with peers in a positive learning environment. The solutions to the mental health challenges our young people face are within our reach.

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 Expands 24-hour Services

Serves 150 in year one of CCBHC Expansion Grant, plans to double number served in year two

One year after being awarded a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Expansion Grant, Hamilton Center, Inc. continues to work towards improving access to evidence-based community behavioral health and integrated primary care services for individuals who live and seek services in Vigo County.

In May 2020, Hamilton Center received a two-year $3.75M CCBHC Expansion Grant, and one year into the grant, the organization has served over 150 consumers by expanding 24-hour services to include a Mobile Crisis Unit, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team, and primary health care screenings. In this first year, Hamilton Center met all requirements for the grant and looks forward to serving clients in year two. The organization has set goals for serving 325 people through various CCBHC services.

“Hamilton Center is constantly working to bring new and innovative services to west central Indiana,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “This grant has allowed us to expand both crisis services and services to those who have serious mental illness. Quality of life has improved for many.”

24/7 Access Services continue to grow and expand

The Mobile Crisis Unit is an innovative way for Hamilton Center to deliver services directly to consumers in crisis. Through a partnership with local dispatch, emergency departments, and law enforcement, individuals are diverted to the Mobile Crisis Unit where they are connected to the most appropriate care for their mental health needs. The Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team, is an intensive team approach to community mental health service delivery that assists people in becoming independent and integrating into the community, providing access to services 24 hours a day.

“All too often, those in a mental health crisis are referred to emergency departments or end up in the criminal justice system,” said Lynn Hughes, Chief of Community Engagement at Hamilton Center, Inc. “Through the expansion of these services, we are working to meet individuals where they are — out in the community, in an environment where they are most comfortable – so that we can provide them with support, relief and care quickly while avoiding unnecessary law enforcement involvement, Emergency Department use and hospitalization.”

Primary care screenings to double in year two

In year two of CCBHC Expansion Grant, Hamilton Center has set a goal of administering 250 unduplicated primary health care screenings, which more than doubles the number served in year one. Increasing these screenings will provide greater access to coordinated care between behavioral health and primary care.

“For some, the pandemic has hindered access to treatment and services,” said Art Fuller, Executive Director of Access Services. “What we are trying to do is optimize the time we spend with our consumers to meet their physical and mental health needs. We are here to provide support 24/7.”

In addition, Hamilton Center recently received a mini-grant that coincides with the continuation of the CCBHC Expansion Grant. The grant provides $5,000 and will focus on improving integration of behavioral health and primary care services.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, Ind.  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 questions or inquiries about services, call (812)-231-8323 or visit www.hamiltoncenter.org. Hamilton Center can also be contacted 24 hours a day for mental health or substance crisis assessments and referrals at (800) 742-0787.

Hamilton Center Raises $31,000 for Children’s Mental Health Services

Over 80 Sponsors engage 30th Annual Sheriff Shootout

Hamilton Center, Inc. (HCI) hosted its 30th Annual Sheriff Shootout on Friday, May 14, 2021 at Rea Park in Terre Haute, IN. There were 57 teams in attendance from the local and surrounding counties. The top finishers of the community tournament were Old National Bank, Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club, State Farm Insurance, Genoa Healthcare, Andy Jones, and IUOE Local 841. In addition, The Vermillion County Sheriff’s Department defeated seven other area Sheriff’s Departments to take home the coveted Sheriff Shootout Trophy. Involving more than 80 sponsors, the event raised over $31,000 that will benefit children’s mental health services at Hamilton Center.

In the 2021 State of Mental Health in America, Mental Health America reported that 9.7 percent of youth in the US have severe major depression, while eight in ten youth screened reported moderate to severe anxiety since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020.

“Everyone has struggled this year, though the struggles of our youth have been unique,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “We are pleased to have the support of so many of our community partners in addressing mental health related issues for children and adolescents in the community.”

In addition, Mental Health America reported 37 percent of youth that were screened reported experiencing suicidal ideations more than half or nearly every day during a two-week time period; 22 percent reported experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm nearly every day during that same period.

In recognition of 50 years of service to the community, and as an effort to begin to address the lasting impacts of the pandemic, Hamilton Center, Inc. is offering free suicide prevention training to organizations and individuals. Trainings include Questions Persuade Refer (QPR) and Signs of Suicide (SOS).

“We know there has been a whole other storm brewing in our youth during the pandemic, in large part due to social isolation and fear of illness,” said Mark Collins, Chief Clinical Officer at Hamilton Center, Inc. “These trainings are one way communities and individuals can foster an awareness of mental health and its impact on our overall wellbeing, especially for our youth who have struggled greatly.”

To learn more about the suicide prevention trainings or to register, go to https://www.trainingourcommunity.org/ or call 812-231-8323.

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 Receives LCC Grant for Addictions Treatment

Matrix Scholarships, Materials, and Equipment

Hamilton Center, Inc. has been awarded a grant from the Owen County Local Coordinating Council (LCC) and the Owen County Drug Free You & Me initiative that will fund addictions treatment scholarships for 12-15 individuals, as well as training for 2 staff members in Relapse Prevention. Through certification of The Matrix Model, Hamilton Center provides an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) which runs three times a week. The programming uses technology to deliver and enhance treatment through presentations, programming videos, and Motivational Interviewing. In 2018, Hamilton Center was designated as the first certified site for The Matrix Model in the state of Indiana, achieving a three-year Certification with Excellence.

The Matrix scholarships will remove the financial barrier to addictions treatments. Hamilton Center has state-certified navigators who can help those who are in need of services complete a health insurance application to obtain insurance that would potentially cover all their health care needs. “This process can take weeks, if not months, to complete and often presents an overwhelming financial barrier in seeking treatment,” said Cindy Rotman, Program Manager, Hamilton Center, Inc., Owen County. “Support from the Owen County LCC Drug Free Community Fund will help offset costs of Matrix programming, allowing consumers to receive the treatment they need in a timely manner, which can be crucial in the process of recovery from addiction,” added Mrs. Rotman.

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 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 $7k 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.