The city of South Bend has finalized a funding agreement with Oaklawn that will establish and launch a 24/7 behavioral crisis center. The agreement provides $2.7 million for Oaklawn to invest into the Memorial Epworth building, establish the Behavioral Crisis Center and fund the first year of operations.
The city says the funds will support easy access to high-quality behavioral health services for residents.
Oaklawn provides mental health and addiction treatment for individuals in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.
Plans for the center have been in the works for the last two years, with collaborators including the St. Joseph County Department of Health, Beacon Health System, St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office, Sound Bend Police Department, St. Joseph County Council, and the South Bend Common Council.
“After years of collaboration, I am glad our community is ready to establish a crisis center and fill in gaps in our mental health services,” said South Bend Mayor James Mueller. “This partnership between the City and Oaklawn provides the funding necessary for the buildout of the center and its initial operation costs. I am optimistic that additional funding partnerships with the County and State will sustain the crisis center and these critical mental health services beyond its initial years.”
The funds were part of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act distribution, which also included matching funds appropriated by the County Council. The city said County Commissioners tabled an agreement with Oaklawn last month that would have provided the matching funds necessary for the establishment of the Behavioral Crisis Center and three years of operations.