DMHA awards Oaklawn $3.8 million grant for two years

The Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) announced that Oaklawn will receive a $3.9 million grant to help fund its planned crisis center in Elkhart County. The crisis center will be open 24-hours a day year-round to serve as a short-term stabilization center for people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. The center is tentatively planned to open in the spring of 2024.

Crisis centers are growing in popularity across the country, helping to fill the gaps in mental health treatment and offering alternatives to hospital emergency departments or jails for people in crisis. Oaklawn was one of 15 community mental health centers in the state receiving a total $57 million to start or expand such crisis services.

“Dedicated services for mental health and substance use crises are smart and responsive – they make sense,” said Laurie Nafziger, President and CEO of Oaklawn. “There’s tremendous benefit to the community in providing a safe place, staffed by mental health experts, to assess and then help stabilize people in crisis. It’s something our community needs, and we’re pleased to be a part of the solution.”

The DMHA grant comes in addition to funding committed by Elkhart County, the cities of Elkhart and Goshen and the town of Bristol. The project now has enough funding to pay for renovations needed to house the space, which will be located at Oaklawn’s Goshen campus at 330 Lakeview Drive; the launch of a mobile crisis team serving Elkhart County and two years of operations, during which time leaders expect a sustainable payment model to take shape at the state and federal levels. Oaklawn is currently in the process of getting bids for the renovation. Construction is expected to start this fall, with a planned opening in spring 2024.

A similar crisis center planned for St. Joseph County is also getting closer to becoming reality. That center will be housed at Memorial Epworth Center at 420 Niles Avenue in South Bend and operated by Oaklawn. Renovation to the space is set to begin July 5 with plans to open this winter.

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