Hamilton Center Access Services Providing Valuable Service 24/7

While Hamilton Center’s (HCI) normal business hours are on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the needs of the communities it serves do not arise only during that time.  Hamilton Center’s Access Services works 24/7, 365 days a year to help bridge this gap and either provide help to those in need or steer them toward the correct location.

Amber Sebastian is a manager of Access Services at HCI and likes how her office has a huge role in getting people the help they need.

“When people present themselves to us, they let us know what their concern is,” she said. “Then we connect them with a nurse or a therapist who completes a crisis assessment. From that crisis assessment, we’ll contact the doctor that’s on call to see what the best treatment plan is for that patient.”

The Access Services center is located in Terre Haute but is not limited to just potential clients in that location.  Hamilton Center also has offices in Bloomfield, Clinton, Indianapolis, Plainfield, Spencer, Brazil, Greencastle, Linton, Rockville, Sullivan and West Terre Haute. Anyone in those locations needing help can also contact the Access Center at (800) 742-0787 or go to www.hamiltoncenter.org.

Sebastian related a story from a recent encounter with a man who was reaching out for assistance. 

“A man called in who was contemplating suicide,” she recalls. “And then once we talked to him and he understood that we were there to listen and assist, he was very thankful and felt much better.  He said usually he felt like nobody’s there for him.”

Sebastian noted that her department has a goal of getting help to someone in the community within 30 minutes of receiving a call.

“We were able to get him here for an assessment that really changed his entire day and his outlook on mental health facilities in general,” she said.

Sebastian recalled another recent situation involving a man contemplating suicide who was visiting from California.

“He ended up here but needed residential substance abuse treatment. We were able to connect with the most appropriate level of treatment. He received an assessment with them that same day and was admitted.” 

Sebastian noted the man has stayed around Terre Haute and still stops by the access center when he’s in the HCI building.

“Whenever he stops by our pharmacy to pick up his medicine, he stops in and basically just says, ‘thank you’,” Sebastian said. “He said, ‘You know, I feel like I was never being heard. I ended up in this random state where I knew no one and you guys were the only ones who helped me.’ That’s one that always sticks with me. He still sounds fine and just says, ‘Hey, I’m doing good.’ I love that.”

Sebastian noted that the two possible options for those seeking help are inpatient or outpatient treatment.

“If it’s inpatient, we go ahead and facilitate that to get them in our [IPU],” she said. “If it’s outpatient, we also get the follow up in place to ensure timely treatment. We don’t ever turn anyone away. Something that’s really big to someone else may be small to me and you.”

If people are unable to make it to any Hamilton Center office location to get their situations resolved, Access Services can send out its mobile crisis unit to provide the same assistance.

“Our goal is to intervene before it gets to the point of hospitalization,” Sebastian said. “If you feel like you’re suicidal in the community or depressed and you don’t have a ride to come into the Access Center, it’s an amazing alternative to dialing 911 and having law enforcement involved. I feel like it’s more therapeutic for our patients for us to be able to go out and intervene.”

Such a service also allows law enforcement to better focus on that intended topic instead of trying to diffuse issues of mental health.

 “If a 911 caller is voluntary, the police have been picking them up and just dropping them off here,” she said. “They’ll call us ahead of time and say, ‘Hey, so-and-so’s on the way’, so we’ve got a really good relationship with the police department.”

Jordon Miller had worked in the Inpatient Unit at Hamilton Center for nearly four years before moving into a management position in Access Services. 

Miller considers his new department as kind of the backbone of the entire HCI operation.

“I would describe it as a central hub for everything that goes on with Hamilton Center,” he said. “I like how vital and integral the Access Center is. My manager position is a bit different than my job on the IPU – it’s a lot more fast paced with a lot more department collaboration

Before the Access Center became a 24-hour operation, Miller handled many of the same kinds of crisis calls as a night shift mental health technician on the IPU.

“I was pretty well-versed in crisis intervention over the phone and facilitating referrals coming in from other hospitals and dealing with people who may be in a suicidal crisis or doing wellness checks,” Miller said. “We do a lot of really important work in there, and we have the right team put together. It just makes everything go really smoothly and kind of fall together.”

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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, adults, and families, 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 Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Commemorates half-century of efforts to improve mental health care

In 2021, Hamilton Center, Inc. commemorates its 50th anniversary. Founded in 1971 as the Katherine Hamilton Mental Health Center, the organization has spent the last 50 years advancing excellence in behavioral healthcare services. Today, the organization serves over 12,000 consumers annually, employs over 650 Hoosiers, and hosts a number of beloved community events in west central Indiana.

Hamilton Center, with the help of committed community partners, has advanced behavioral health and addiction treatment. As our understanding of mental health, physical health, and the mind-body connection has advanced in the last 50 years, so has Hamilton Center’s service delivery. Today, the organization offers a full array of services with focus on integrating both behavioral health and primary care services to offer whole person care. The organization’s 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. For many, hope has been restored, quality of life enhanced, and lives have been saved.

Hamilton Center Expands 24-hour Access Services

Hamilton Center’s Access Center and Crisis Line are now staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week, assisting individuals, families and communities who may need support with mental health or substance abuse emergencies.

Mental health-related crisis calls have increased throughout the pandemic and are often related to social isolation, fear of illness, and hindered access to services. Hamilton Center’s 24-hour Access Center offers mental health and substance use crisis assessments and management services from mental health professionals, and services are available to individuals throughout the corporation’s 10-county service area.  In addition, the Access Center can assist those seeking access to preventive screenings including mental health and primary care screenings.

“Everyone has struggled in some way during the pandemic,” said Art Fuller, Executive Director of Access Services. “What we are trying to do is optimize our efforts to meet the specific needs of those in crisis. We are here to provide support 24/7 to any one in need, children and adults alike.”

The Access Center can be reached at (800) 742-0787.

Free Suicide Prevention Training for All

In celebration of 50 years of service to west central Indiana, Hamilton Center has launched a public service campaign focused on suicide prevention.  “Zero suicides.  It is possible.”

The campaign is focused on suicide prevention training and expansion of emergency services.  Hamilton Center is offering free suicide prevention training to organizations, groups, and individuals to assist individuals in identifying and assisting those struggling with a mental health issue or crisis. Suicide is preventable. Save a life, take the training. To learn more, visit hamiltoncenter.org/communitytraining.

Hamilton Center, Inc. commits to $15 per hour minimum wage for all employees

Melvin L. Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc., has announced that no employee in the corporation will earn less than $15 per hour.

In a memo sent to all Hamilton Center staff, Burks stated, “It has taken discipline, persistence and sacrifice to reach this goal…. I am grateful to the Board of Directors and my leadership team who stayed focused and steadfast to make this happen.  In addition, I want to thank all of you (staff) for not only your hard work, but also your patience as we worked though this project.” 

This action was a culmination of work over the last few years to increase salaries in order to recruit and retain qualified individuals who can provide excellent service to consumers in Hamilton Center’s regional footprint. 

“These increases will significantly improve the quality of life for many of our employees, as well as our consumers who are counting on us to serve them with a top notch, qualified and stable workforce. I am so proud of the investment we are able to make in our workforce,” Burks stated. 

This initiative, combined with other salary increases, will affect over 300 Hamilton Center positions.

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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.