Pictured above: (left-right) Optimist Treasurer Lou Bonomo welcomed Margie Anshutz, Chief Development Officer of Hamilton Center and President/CEO of the Hamilton Center Foundation and Andy Smith Regional Director of Hamilton Center, who spoke at the Club’s Thursday meeting.

The Clinton Breakfast Optimist Club heard guest speakers Margie Anshutz and Andy Smith of Hamilton Center at their Thursday meeting.  Margie Anshutz is the Chief Development Officer of Hamilton Center and President/CEO of the Hamilton Center Foundation; Andy Smith is the Regional Director of Hamilton Center in Vermillion, Parke, Sullivan and Greene counties.

Margie provided some mental health facts –

  • 6 million people have mental health disorders
  • 2 million children have emotional disorders
  • 7 million adults have substance abuse issues
  • Less than half of adults with mental illness report receiving treatment
  • Persons with mental illness die 25 years sooner than their counterparts

Hamilton Center is a regional behavioral health system serving central and west central Indiana.  The organization is “building hope and changing lives” through a broad array of behavioral health services for adults, children, adolescents and families. Hamilton Center serves about 13,000 clients a year as a whole and about 550 clients in Vermillion County.  Hamilton Center employs about five hundred thirty staff statewide with thirty-one coming from Vermillion County.

Hamilton Center reaches many clients through outpatient services.  They serve over 13,000 clients statewide and about 550 outpatient clients in Vermillion County per year.  Most of the services are to help individuals in the community  acquire the skills they need to live independently.  About one-third of this population is children.  The focus with children is to provide wrap-around services to help keep the children in a family environment.

Hamilton Center Foundation became a focus about 10 years ago when management developed a plan to diversify revenue.  Most of funding is from Medicaid and with changes on the horizon; there was a need to look long term for financial stability.  Hamilton Center has been good at getting grants but the grants are very prescriptive.  They also needed to look at funding for core programs to ensure the work with people with serious mental illness would continue.

It took 2 years to get 501C3 status but the foundation now has non-profit designation and have been going out into the communities and providing education about Hamilton Center and mental illness.  One of the big educational priorities for Hamilton Center is to combat the stigma of mental illness.  One in five people will be affected by mental illness so it’s better to talk about it and get it out there so it loses the stigma.

Andy Smith spoke of the three main priorities in his area:

  • Working with DCS to provide support for families
  • Working with the elementary schools very closely to integrate schools into the community so services are seamless. They will be going into middle and high schools soon to start integration at that level
  • Working with Vermillion county jail with a program titled Recovery Works. They have a grant to provide services within the jail 90 days prior to release and continue after release.  Sixteen counties in the state were funded for this pilot program