Thrive by IU Health

July 27, 2021

Philanthropy helps Monroe County residents in crisis stride forward

IU Health Bloomington Hospital

Philanthropy helps Monroe County residents in crisis stride forward

In a mental health or substance use crisis, there are limited options for people to get the help they desperately need. And if that crisis happens outside of “business hours,” it becomes even more difficult. In Monroe County, those seeking local crisis assistance were once limited to the nearest jail or hospital, neither of which is the right fit for someone struggling with a crisis.

Now, a third option makes it easier for Monroe County residents to access care and support in the midst of a substance use or mental health crisis. The Stride Center in Bloomington, an initiative of the Stride Coalition, opened in August of last year as a 24/7/365 facility for those who need help, but don’t need jail time or hospital care.

Susan Harrington, program manager at the Stride Center, says that philanthropy has paved the way for the center to serve guests who come through the doors. Local organizations that make up the Stride Coalition including the center’s lead organization, Centerstone, raised funds to help make the center a reality for the community. And a matching gift from IU Health and the IU Health Foundation ensures that the center will be fully-funded for the next three years. Through the Community Impact Investment Fund, IU Health is investing a combined total of $1,050,000 to support the operation of the crisis center.

At the Stride Center, patients have the opportunity to sober up, have a hot drink or a light snack, talk with staff who are all trained in crisis de-escalation and access resources that can help them get through the crisis. While the center is not a shelter, it is a safe place for those struggling with a mental health or substance use crisis to find help and support. Coming to the center is voluntary, and once they’ve been through intake, they can return at any time they need.

The Stride Center is considered a crisis diversion center, which means guests get the help they need without placing undue strain on the law enforcement or healthcare systems. And by agreeing to be taken to the Stride Center, some guests may avoid arrest for minor crimes.

A year after the doors opened, Harrington says she has seen many success stories of patients who’ve been served by the program.

“We have connected several of our guests to rehab facilities,” Harrington says, “and they’ve gone on to successfully complete a rehab facility treatment protocol. They've gone on to transitional or sober living, found jobs, and saved a little money. And they've stayed clean and sober.”

Another option for southern Indiana residents facing crisis is IU Health Bedford Hospital. This facility, which is just south of Bloomington, is a critical access hospital that provides rural residents with high-quality care as quickly as possible. But with rising numbers of mental health crises and cases of substance use disorder, an emergency room can become quickly overrun. The Stride Center is an option for these patients, so they can avoid the ER and get compassionate care, not far from home.

Harrington agrees that access is key to helping mitigate rising mental health and substance use numbers.

“There are many more individuals who are experiencing mental health issues, which can then snowball into substance use issues. The more service providers there are, the more access points there are, and the more they can reach out and get the services they need.”

If you’d like to find out how you can support programs that fund behavioral and mental health initiatives, please contact IU Health Foundation Major Gift Officer Emily Trinkle.

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