EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — COVID has highlighted the importance of mental health. And now, Evansville is taking steps to expand facilities, resources and treatment.
City leaders hope to use a little over $10 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan to address mental health. The city received half of those funds last May, and the Mayor already has a plan for the second half.
“We’re asking the city council to allocate $10 million to Southwestern Behavioral Health so they can renovate two facilities so they can create two badly needed services,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.
The current plan for Southwestern Behavioral Health calls for renovations of “Mulberry Center” into a new short term program.
It would provide 20 beds and serve those with mental health needs who don’t necessarily need to be in a hospital setting.
“That building would become a full service to adults to include therapy, psychiatry and our crisis stabilization unit all in one spot,” said Katy Adams, CEO and President of Southwestern Behavioral Health.
Southwestern Behavioral Health would also look to build a new Youth and Family Center.
This would provide treatment to children with significant mental health issues and intellectual disabilities.
Adams says it would be the first of its kind in Evansville.
“There is really limited options. So, we hope to have a clinic that would be a neurology developmental psychiatry clinic,” Adams said.
The Mayor’s mental health plan also has some money earmarked to help expand psychological services at Easterseals Rehabilitation Center.
It also aims at addressing long wait times — as it takes families sometimes months and even up to a year in some cases to get the proper treatment.
“Right now, to get psychological testing- children are waiting 8 to 10 months. And that is just not acceptable,” said Kelly Schneider, CEO of Easterseals.
The last part of the plan includes the Evansville Diversions Center at United Caring Services. Before the pandemic- Mayor Winnicke says they were able to create a 6 bed 23 hour facility in the center.
The Evansville City Council has to approve the plan. There’s a vote scheduled for Monday night.