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Preparations for NEW Behavioral Health Crisis Center Underway at Adult & Child Health

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In an effort to decrease unnecessary emergency room visits and jail incarcerations, integrated healthcare provider Adult & Child Health (A&C) will use its recently awarded Vitality Grant of $500,000 to implement a Behavioral Health Crisis Center at the organization’s Indianapolis clinic. This crisis stabilization program will provide adults experiencing a mental crisis with a safe, comfortable, monitored care environment, and access to an array of mental health, addictions, and primary care services, including an on-site behavioral health prescriber.

The launch of A&C’s crisis center aligns with Indiana’s plan to implement the SAMHSA Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) service continuum statewide.  A&C was one of eight Indiana community mental health centers recently selected to serve as a proposed pilot site in the Division of Mental Health and Addictions (DMHA) application for a federal CCBHC Demonstration Project. In the CCBHC model of care, crisis centers in the community play a prominent role in assuring individuals have timely access to services when urgent needs arise.   

Located at 8320 Madison Avenue in Indianapolis, the new program is scheduled to open in March 2024. Services will be available to immediate walk-ins, persons brought by family or friends, and those referred by healthcare providers, mobile crisis teams, and/or law enforcement officers, who are often first on the scene when a mental health crisis occurs.

Hospital emergency rooms, where patients often experience long wait times, historically have been the only available option for those experiencing a mental health crisis – most crises happen during evenings and weekends. A&C’s Behavioral Health Crisis Center will be open during these hours, providing access to care when it is most needed while alleviating pressure on local emergency rooms. “Time is always critical in a mental health crisis, and the quicker we can intervene, the better,” said Lauran Canady, Vice President of Integrated Health. “We know our hospitals are there should we need them, but this program will be a tremendous benefit for persons in need of a more appropriate level of care.”

Utilizing a “Living Room” approach to assessment and stabilization, persons treated at the Crisis Center will receive individualized support and services from a peer recovery specialist, masters-level therapist, and an APRN who can prescribe medication, if necessary, in a calming therapeutic setting. Individuals also will have access to the entirety of A&C’s services, including aftercare to ensure services continue after discharge.

“On behalf of Adult & Child Health, I would like to thank Mental Health America of Indianapolis and the City of Indianapolis for the Vitality grant that has allowed us to build a crisis receiving and stabilization program – this is a desperately needed resource in our community and one we are so grateful to be able to develop,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christine Negendank, A&C.   

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Sarah Miller, PMHNP-BC

Sarah Miller works with the addictions team, general psychiatry for adolescents and adults, and the competency restoration team. She is board-certified as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Her specialties are working in addictions and with people who experience serious mental illness.

Miller graduated from Indiana University with a psychology degree and went back to school for nursing. She received her nursing degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and worked in a nursing home and also spent time working in a group home with adolescents. She received her master’s degree from Vanderbilt University.

She enjoys hanging out with her family and her two dogs, and going to sporting events.

Joanna Chambers, MD

Dr. Joanna Chambers is a psychiatrist who began seeing Adult & Child Health patients in November 2021. She graduated from Medical College of Georgia with her Doctorate of Medicine in 1996 and completed her residency in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to bringing a wealth of experience, she currently serves as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches Clinical Psychiatry. She is certified in Addiction Medicine and has a special interest in treating pregnant and postpartum women. She is President of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry Organization as well as a sitting member of many medical association boards. Recently, she has won the Residents’ Award for Teaching Excellence in 2020 from Indiana University and has received “Best Doctors Award” in 2010, 2011, and 2014. Dr. Chambers is incredibly active in the medical, academic, and research realms of medicine. She is currently accepting new patients on Wednesdays.