Our History

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.

– Michael Strassfeld

As a result of the Community Mental Health Centers Act of 1963 passed during the Kennedy administration, the States were provided the opportunity to develop a State plan for community mental health and to obtain federal grants to establish a system of community mental health centers. The development of Hamilton Center Inc. is a story of citizens, volunteers and professionals in a six county area, over a period of years, organizing, planning, and working together for the establishment of a Mental Health Center in west central Indiana.  It is a story of people infused with the belief that mental illness was a major illness in the community and that the dire lack of facilities for treatment could be improved.  It was believed that people could best be treated in their home communities rather than having to travel long distances and perhaps being institutionalized.


Although there were hundreds of volunteers involved, Dr. Betty Dukes, a Sullivan County physician, and a small executive group, compiled The Plan for a Comprehensive Center in Region VII.  The plan was approved by the Indiana Department of Mental Health.  The first stage of planning was completed.


The development of Hamilton Center was a result of public and private partnerships involving the Vigo County Mental Health Association, Union Hospital, The Adult and Child Guidance Clinic and corporate and individual donors.  In a short period, the Katherine Hamilton Mental Health Center was incorporated and its first outpatient office opened in 1971. Named in honor of Katherine Hamilton, a citizen of Vigo County and a pioneer in the Vigo County and State Mental Health Association, Hamilton Center has grown to become a regional behavioral health system. Hamilton Center serves central and west central Indiana providing the full continuum of mental health and addictions treatment to children, adolescents and adults.  Currently the organization serves approximately 13,000 clients a year, employs 550 staff and has outpatient offices in 10 counties in Indiana.