Porter-Starke’s new Crisis Center promises brighter, healthier future for the community

Porter-Starke’s new Crisis Center promises brighter, healthier future for the community

Porter-Starke Services continues to adapt and grow its programs to better meet the needs of our community. On Thursday, November 30, Porter-Starke held an exciting ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the construction of its new Valparaiso Crisis Center, a 24/7/365 facility intended to provide short-term care to individuals experiencing mental health emergencies. Countless business leaders and even several government officials came to see for themselves how life-changing this new facility will be not just for people experiencing mental health crises but for community members as a whole. 

Porter-Starke Services Crisis Center Ribbon Cutting 2023

Porter-Starke Services Crisis Center Ribbon Cutting 2023 36 Photos
Porter-Starke Services Crisis Center Ribbon Cutting 2023Porter-Starke Services Crisis Center Ribbon Cutting 2023Porter-Starke Services Crisis Center Ribbon Cutting 2023Porter-Starke Services Crisis Center Ribbon Cutting 2023

“We’re excited that this is finally here. We’ve been planning this for so long, and we’re finally getting one step closer to opening. It’s an exciting time,” said Tricia Wasil, Crisis Center project director. 

Porter-Starke decided to build the new Crisis Center in response to a state-wide initiative to transform the behavioral health system and provide a more comprehensive range of mental health services. 

“No matter who you are, what your diagnosis is, or what you’re willing to pay, our system needs to be able to meet you where you are. If you and your family are making that leap to seek help and change, we have to be able to catch you because we don’t want you going back to square one,” said Jay Chaudhary, director of the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. 

“This is needed in the community and needed in the county. We already have a similar model now, but it is only available during business hours. Expanding this program to a 24/7 model will definitely help the community,” said Wasil. 

Porter-Starke already provided crisis services, including a mobile crisis team, but they wanted to adapt their model to become even more accessible to those in need. Construction for the Crisis Center began in October, and the Porter-Starke team hopes to have the new center open and operational sometime in January 2024.  

The new 24/7 Crisis Center will have five rooms for adults and three for children. The center will be staffed by a wide variety of highly skilled individuals including nurses to perform medical assessments and a full assessment staff to see what kind of care the individual needs, make proper referrals, and connect them with the proper resources. What’s even more exciting will be the center’s Peer Support Specialists who have lived experience with mental health or substance use disorders. These individuals will help make clients even more comfortable during their stays. 

Everyone in attendance at the ribbon cutting was thrilled to hear about such an innovative facility coming to Valparaiso and paving the way for other mental health centers throughout the state. 

“It is extraordinary to see how far we’ve come in delivering services to help those who struggle with mental illness and addiction. When I was a county commissioner back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, people could go to their community mental health center, but not everyone could get the help they needed because the center wasn’t equipped to take people in on a short-term basis, assess them, and connect them with the resources they need. This gives Porter-Starke another tool in their toolbox and Hoosiers the proper place they need,” said Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch. 

After hearing more about the new Crisis Center and everything it will provide, the Porter-Starke team took everyone on a tour of the new facility. Even still unfinished, the facility instilled pride in everyone. 

“I’m very proud of what we’re all doing here and what the state is doing to really start zeroing in on the things that can make a difference in the lives of those who struggle with mental health. This is one more piece of a giant puzzle that we’re putting together,” said Indiana District Five Senator Ed Charbonneau. 

For Crouch, the center demonstrated to her not just a brighter future for individuals with mental health disorders but for the law enforcement and emergency room staff who simply want to provide these individuals with the best care possible in stressful situations. 

“I’m very optimistic and hopeful for the future. Crisis centers like this will ensure that our community health centers are going to be better equipped to help those in need. These centers also give our law enforcement and judicial system more options in situations when an individual really just needs a safe place to stabilize while they are waiting to get the right help, not sit in the emergency room or a jail cell,” said Crouch. 

Porter-Starke hopes the new center will help break some of the stigma that surrounds mental health and prevent people from seeking help. 

“We’re hoping this helps people realize they can get help. With the stigma around mental health, a lot of people don’t want to seek help and they don’t feel like they’ll get the right care at the ER. If they know that there is a center that they can go to and get help and receive the appropriate care that they need, people might be more willing to come. That’s the goal,” said Wasil. 

Ultimately, Porter-Starke’s new Crisis Center is sure to make an irrevocable difference in the well-being of our community. Between breaking the stigma, providing more care options to local organizations in emergency situations, and making care more accessible, the new center promises a brighter future for everyone. Porter-Starke is grateful to everyone who has helped make this incredible feat possible. 

“There are so many people to thank today for all of this coming together. I could keep going forever. I want to thank Suzanne Crouch for being a tremendous advocate for mental health throughout the state and helping to remove the stigma associated with it. I’d also like to thank Senator Ed Charbonneau who has spent many years working on the legislature for both health and mental health issues. I want to acknowledge all of our local stakeholders and community partners—there are so many. Thanks to all our hospital staff, law enforcement, and judges for helping us develop new service lines. Thanks to our incredible board of directors, and of course, thanks to all of our staff who have worked tirelessly to make this happen,” said Matthew Burden, president and CEO of Porter-Starke. 

To learn more about Porter-Starke Services and its variety of programs, visit www.porterstarke.org