On call mental health help: Stride Center opens, offering crisis services for community

Mike Wolanin | The Republic An exterior view of the Stride Center in Columbus, Ind., Thursday, April 13, 2023.

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 help 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 health crisis,” Columbus Police Chief Mike Richardson said. “We’ve needed the Stride Center for some years now, and I’m glad it is 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 with the same name that began in Bloomington in September 2020, the Stride Center is considered an alternative to the emergency room or jail for those in a mental crisis, according to Linda Grove-Paul, vice president of adult services for Centerstone Mental Health Services.

While Centerstone will be a key player in the Stride Center’s operation, Grove-Paul said there will be no Centerstone branding in order to avoid clients having potential worries about being stigmatized as mentally ill.

With a staff of nine, the facility can be accessed by anyone 18 years 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 non-profits who assist the poor or homeless will be able to access resources for those with mental health or substance abuse issues.

The staff of the Columbus Stride Center is professionally trained in harm reduction, trauma-informed care and crisis intervention. Individuals can stay at the center for up to 23 hours per visit, and can come back if further treatment is needed.

The Stride Center will be able to provide the following supportive services:

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

Beginning a few months from now, the Stride Center will have mobile crisis teams available at all times seven days a week to assist first responders when an individual cannot make it to a safe location to get care. Mobile crisis team members will include peer recovery specialists, crisis care specialists and licensed mental health therapists. The Bloomington facility was not able to offer mobile crisis services until last January, Grove-Paul said.

While many in both the public and private sectors have worked to bring the Columbus Stride Center to fruition, Bartholomew County Sheriff Chris Lane said he believes the new facility evolved in part from crisis intervention training initiated three years ago by Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Whipker and Columbus Police Lt. Alyson Eichel.

“This is really going to be able to bridge the gap with individuals we come in contact with that maybe aren’t to the point where they need to be taken to the hospital or placed in immediate detention,” Lane said.

An intervention by Stride professionals might keep a mental health issue from escalating to where an individual is hospitalized, or commits a crime that ends up putting them in jail, Lane said.

Receiving special recognition at the ceremony was Pete Yonkman, president of the Bloomington-based Cook Medical, a privately-owned manufacturer of medical equipment. It was Yonkman and his company that co-founded the Stride Coalition and helped raise $2 million for the opening of the first Stride Center, Grove-Paul said.

While a $750,000 federal grant will end on Sept. 30, both Stride Centers were recently informed they will receive a $3.2 million dollar grant through the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. That amount will fund the Monroe and Bartholomew County facilities through February 2025.

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

About the Columbus Stride Center

  • Serves individuals 18 and older
  • Services available to those suffering from acute mental health and/or substance use issues who are in good behavior control
  • Serves people with suicidal thoughts

Who cannot be served

  • Individuals who present an imminent 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.