Indianapolis-based nonprofit Eskenazi Health Foundation has received a $1 million gift from St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild to support the Behavioral Health Academy. The BHA, which is a partnership between the Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center and local universities, aims to increase the number of dual-licensed clinical social workers and clinical addictions counselors in central Indiana.
The foundation says the BHA helps prepare Master of Social Work students to meet requirements for clinical licenses through completion of 700 practicum hours during the internship. BHA students also receive six hours of group supervision each month to learn evidence-based practices like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy skills.
“A cherished partner of Eskenazi Health for more than a century, the generosity of St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild and its’ benefit to our patients over the years has been immeasurable,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, chief executive officer of Eskenazi Health. “This gift, enabling us to expand our behavioral health workforce, follows St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild’s tradition of giving straight to what our patients and community need most and giving it their all to make a true difference.”
Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center offers inpatient and outpatient programs that use the Recovery Model of treatment for emotional and behavioral problems, including substance abuse.
“The need for quality mental health care has never been greater, particularly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this incredibly generous gift from our friends with the St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild will help many individuals facing difficult challenges,” said Ernie Vargo, CEO of Eskenazi Health Foundation. “This significant contribution supporting the outstanding work of Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center will have a positive impact on those in need.”
The BHA will graduate its second class in May. The foundation says 17 students are currently participating in Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center programs.