Mental health help on call: Stride Center opens, offering community crisis services

A new crisis intervention center in Columbus opened Thursday to serve those experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to mark the opening of The Stride Center, which will offer same-day assistance and provide clients with future options, according to center officials.

“We get a lot of calls from people who don’t know where else to go when a loved one is in a mental crisis,” said Columbus Police Chief Mike Richardson. “We’ve needed the Stride Center for several years and I’m glad it’s finally here.”

Richardson was one of more than 40 people attending the ceremony at 1075 Second St, adjacent to Mi Fluid Power Solutions. Modeled after a program of the same name that began in Bloomington in September 2020, the Stride Center is considered an alternative to the emergency room or jail for people in mental health crisis, according to Linda Grove-Paul, vice president of adult services for Centerstone Mental Health Services health.

While Centerstone will be a key player in the Stride Center operation, Grove-Paul said there will be no Centerstone branding to avoid potential customer concerns about being stigmatized as mentally ill.

With a staff of nine, the facility can be accessed by anyone 18 or older and will serve Bartholomew and all surrounding counties, she said.

No referrals are needed to seek help at the Stride Center, according to center officials. In addition, first responders and nonprofits that help the poor or homeless will have access to resources for people with mental health or substance abuse problems.

Columbus Stride Center staff are professionally trained in harm reduction, trauma-informed care and crisis intervention. Individuals can stay at the center for up to 11 hours per visit and can return if further treatment is required.

Stride Center will be able to provide the following support services:

  • Triage and crisis intervention such as inpatient detox and rehabilitation
  • Mental health and substance use disorder treatment services
  • Peer support or recovery coaching
  • Links to shelters, food and clothing
  • Naloxone Training (NARCAN).

Starting in a few months, the Stride Center will have mobile crisis teams available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist first responders when a person cannot get to a safe place to receive care. Members of the mobile crisis team will include peer recovery specialists, crisis care specialists and licensed mental health therapists. The Bloomington facility was unable to offer mobile crisis services until last January, Grove-Paul said.

Although many in both the public and private sectors have worked to make the Columbus Stride Center a reality, Bartholomew County Sheriff Chris Lane said he believes the new facility grew in part from crisis intervention training started three years ago by Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Whipker and Columbus Police Lt. Alison Eichel.

“It’s really going to be able to bridge the gap with individuals that we come into contact with who maybe aren’t to the point where they need to be taken to a hospital or placed in immediate custody,” Lane said.

Intervention by Stride professionals can prevent a mental health problem from escalating to the point where a person is hospitalized or commits a crime that ultimately lands them in prison, Lane said.

Special recognition at the ceremony went to Pete Yonkman, president of Bloomington-based Cook Medical, a privately held medical equipment manufacturer. Yonkman and his company co-founded the Stride Coalition and helped raise $2 million to open the first Stride Center, Grove-Paul said.

Although the $750,000 federal grant will end on September 30, the two Stride Centers were recently informed that they will receive a $3.2 million dollar grant through the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. This amount will fund facilities in Monroe and Bartholomew counties through February 2025.

Grove-Paul expressed optimism that the centers in both Bloomington and Columbus will receive funding in two years with a 988 Lifeline grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. Launched last summer, 988 is a suicide and crisis call center.

About the Columbus Stride Center

  • Serves individuals 18 and over
  • Services available to people with acute mental health and/or substance use problems who have good behavioral control
  • Serves people with suicidal thoughts

Which cannot be serviced

  • Individuals who pose an immediate risk of harm or violence to themselves or others.

Location and contact information

Columbus Stride Center

1075 Second St., Suite C, Columbus

To contact the Stride Center or the Mobile Crisis Team, call 1-877-463-6512.

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