By Mike Rhodes, Editor-in-Chief, MuncieJournal.com—
MUNCIE, IN—On Wednesday, the City of Muncie in partnership with IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and many other volunteers who have been working collaboratively for the past 20 months announced the beginnings of The Muncie Crisis Center.
When opened, the center will help people in the community who are dealing with serious addiction and mental health issues. In many cases, the Muncie Crisis Center aims to be an alternative to jail for persons experiencing an immediate crisis. The center will give people a chance.
The goal of the Muncie Crisis Center will be to connect people with resources available in the community. Behavioral Health trained clinicians from IU Health will work with participants and help guide them to available resources in the community and beyond.
Mayor Ridenour said that at this time, the Muncie Crisis Center is fully funded through 2026, through various means, such as American Rescue Plan funds, grants IU Health was able to receive and the mayor’s EDIT fund.
The building located at 809 W. 8th Street where the Workman’s Bar now stands will be remodeled and architectural plans for the interior are in development.
The mayor said the facility will be designed, in large part, around a successful one located in Bloomington, IN called the STRIDE Center. A number of people from Muncie toured that facility and members of STRIDE also came to Muncie to talk about the Bloomington facility and how it operates.
Dr. Dane Minnick, Director for the Ball State Center for Substance Use Research and Community Initiatives provided some statistics about mental illness and addiction in Delaware County. For example:
- Delaware County ranks 4th among all counties in the state in total drug overdose fatalities.
- Delaware County is 5th in the state for opioid-related overdose deaths.
- Delaware County is 3rd in the state for Hepatitis C.
- Delaware County is 8th in non-fatal overdose emergency department visits.
- 16% of adults in Delaware County reported frequent mental distress.
When asked how many current persons in the Delaware County jail could have been helped by the Muncie Crisis Center if it existed today, Dr. Minnick said he could not address those numbers specifically. However, Dr. Minnick said, “National studies have found up to 75% of a jail’s population could be helped by facilities much like the planned Muncie Crisis Center.”
Paula Tyler is a service line leader for Behavior Health Services at Ball Memorial. She said, “We feel like the center’s location at 809 W. 8th Street will be a great location as it is very close to some of the housing resources where some of the greatest need is located. It is still in fairly close proximity to the downtown and the hospital. Initially, when we open the doors, we will continue to work with our law enforcement stakeholders and they will be the ones that can initially start bringing people to us.”
IU Health’s Mike Patrick will be responsible for the operation of the facility when it opens. Patrick is from northern Indiana and moved to Muncie so his wife could attend Ball State. “I’ve got a son now, so I want him to be able to grow up in a community that is healthy and is prospering. I’m really excited to be working with everyone and look forward to big things to come.”