Range of Services

Child, adolescent, and family mental health services provide support and treatment for those experiencing emotional or psychological distress or want support adjusting to life circumstances. Mental health services may include prevention, assessment, intervention, and crisis response. A description of many of the services provided at diverse locations throughout our region is provided below.

Assessment/Evaluation Mental health assessment, clinical assessment, and evaluation are all terms that describe the process through which mental health professionals make determinations about an individual’s mental health.  During assessment and evaluation, professionals listen to parent and child reports, make first-hand observations, and assess clinical symptoms.   Specialized assessments may also be used to evaluate child or adolescent mental health. They may include: Addictions Assessment, Psychiatric Evaluation, Psychological Assessment, Psychosocial Assessment, Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS), Skills Assessment, Case Management Assessment, etc. Inquire directly with your child’s mental health or medical provider about available assessments. If you are planning to use private insurance to pay for an evaluation, inquire directly with your insurance company to determine if they have preferred providers. You will also need to talk with your benefits administrator to see if this is a covered service. For mental health concerns impacting learning, contact your school’s counselor to find out about eligibility for evaluation through the school.
Crisis Services Crisis services begin with a phone call. Oaklawn, the Community Mental Health Center, answers calls through its Access Center or “On Call Therapist” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The Access Center Counselor will help assess what level of crisis services might be appropriate for the situation. Call the Access Center to obtain crisis services at Oaklawn. In Elkhart County the number is 574.533.1234 (ask for the Access Center). In St. Joseph County the number is 574.283.1234. If the child/youth is currently an Oaklawn client, a call should be placed to the client’s Therapist. After 5:00 pm and on weekends and holidays, you should call the same Elkhart and St. Joseph County numbers but ask for the “On Call Therapist”. If the emergency is life threatening, you may be advised to call 911. If in-patient hospitalization for a child or youth is required, you may be directed to Memorial Epworth (574.647.8400) or Michiana Behavioral Health (574.936.3784), facilities that provide child and adolescent in-patient psychiatric hospitalization.
Early Childhood Services (for children ages birth to 6) Children ages birth to three years who are experiencing developmental delays or who are at high risk for such a delay can access services through Indiana’s First Steps Early Intervention system.  Qualifying children three through school age who have established delays may qualify for services through their local school districts or special education cooperative. Young children with mental health concerns can also receive services through Oaklawn, the Community Mental Health Center. Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties also boast some specialized early childhood services including, CAPS Building Blocks Laboratory Preschool (Elkhart), Head Start of Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties, Healthy Families (Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties) Families First (Elkhart), Healthy Beginnings (Elkhart County Health Department), and Parents As Teachers (St. Joseph). Parents or child serving professionals may make referrals to Indiana First Steps.  In Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties, call Northeast Indiana First Steps (574.293.2813 or 866.725.2398). Inquiries about special education initiatives for children three-school age can be directed to your local school or school district. Mental health referrals can be directed to Oaklawn’s Access Center at 574.533.1234 (Elkhart County) or 574.283.1234 (St. Joseph County). Specialized early childhood programs can be accessed by calling them directly.
Informal Supports Children who need support to promote their mental health not only need services from formal agencies but can benefit from resources available through family, extended family, friends, neighbors, their faith communities and the broader community like clubs, athletic activities, hobbies, etc.  These are recognized as important sources of informal, natural support.  Natural supports often make the difference in a child’s success or failure because they can be there long after formal supports are discontinued.
Thinking about accessing natural supports can often be challenging for families.  There is no single approach as they will be different for each individual.  Think about your child’s strengths and interests then consult with your child’s care facilitator, social worker or counselor about bringing more informal supports into his or her life.  Community agencies which provide supports can often be discovered by calling 211 or accessing the 211 database in St. Joseph County or Connect2Help in Elkhart County, then browsing service categories.
In-Patient Hospitalization In-patient hospitalization may be required for children and youth with a mental illness who require 24-hour medical monitoring, have complex and uncontrollable behaviors that may cause harm to themselves or others, cannot be stabilized in a smaller or more individualized setting, and/or who meet the criteria for an emergency examination.Children and youth from Elkhart and St. Joseph County have two local choices: Memorial Epworth (South Bend) and Michiana Behavioral Health Center (Plymouth). Hospital admissions are expedited through a call to the Admissions Department of either one of these facilities. For Epworth Memorial the number to call is 574.647.8400. For Michiana Behavioral Health Center the number to call is 574.936.3784.

If the child/adolescent is a current patient at Oaklawn, please contact your Oaklawn service provider who can evaluate risk and either assist with a direct admission to either one of these in-patient hospitals or develop and out-patient safety plan with more intensive interventions.
Intensive In-Home Family Treatment The goal of this array of services, which may include care facilitation, family skills training, and wraparound services, is to optimize the functioning and well-being of children with intensive needs and their families and to help prevent children from out of home placements.  In order to qualify, children must have a certain level of need.  Services are provided through Oaklawn, the Community Mental Health Center, for both Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties. For Oaklawn services, call the Access Center at 574.533.1234 (Elkhart County) and 574.283.1234 (St. Joseph County).
Medication Services For many people diagnosed with mental illness, medications are part of the stabilization and recovery process.  When medications are indicated, medication management is typically one component of a larger treatment plan.  Medication management may include evaluating the need for and prescribing medicine, and monitoring medication effectiveness and results.  Medications may be prescribed by a pediatrician, family physician, psychiatrist, or nurse practitioner. Contact the child’s mental health therapist, pediatrician, family physician or psychiatrist directly to inquire about medication services. For those with more severe mental health needs, contact Oaklawn or a community psychiatrist for a more intensive evaluation of medication needs.
Mentoring A mentor is an adult who, along with parents and guardians, provides young people with support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement and positive role modeling.  Mentoring supports youth who could benefit from additional 1:1 adult relationships due to life stressors.  Mentors are carefully matched and then meet regularly with their mentees.There are several mentoring programs in Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties. Among them: Elkhart Community Schools CARES program, Big Brothers Big Sisters (Elkhart and St. Joseph County), DreamsWork (Elkhart), South Bend Community School Corporation Mentor Dream Team. Inquire directly with a mentoring program about eligibility for, and availability of, mentors or call your school counselor for more information.
Mental Health Therapy/ Psychotherapy Mental health therapy, also sometimes referred to as psychotherapy, can take the form of individual, group, couples, or family counseling sessions at a mental health clinic, doctor’s office, private therapy office, a child’s home, and/or some schools.  Click on the Therapy/Psychotherapy link to the left to learn more about mental health therapy. Appointments are made directly with mental health providers or agencies.  Inquire with your school counselor, social worker or pediatrician or click here to be linked to Oaklawn.  If you are planning on using private insurance to pay for therapy, inquire directly with your insurance company to determine if they have preferred providers.If you have Medicaid, be sure to ask the provider if they accept Medicaid.
Peer Support & Advocacy Peer support and advocacy services help families learn how to negotiate the mental healthcare system.  These services inform families and individuals about their rights and responsibilities regarding mental healthcare, educate them about available resources, and offer opportunities for caregivers to connect with each other. In Elkhart County, The Parent SOURCE, is a peer support and advocacy group for families whose children receive services to support their mental health. The Parent SOURCE can be reached at Parent.Source@nullYahoo.com. In St. Joseph County, The Parent’s Connection can be reached at www.theparentsconnection.org.
A parent run agency that supports educational advocacy is INSource.
Prevention & Health Promotion Mental health prevention and promotion activities focus on healthy lifestyles and healthy communities for all children and families.  They occur in many settings  (doctor’s offices, schools, community centers, etc.) and may include activities such as school based violence prevention programs, community based early childhood playgroups, and parent education training classes. Inquire directly with your local school and community organizations about available prevention activities.Parenting classes, an important part of prevention services, occur throughout the community. In Elkhart County, the Partners for Parents website keeps a calendar of parenting classes. Our local United Way 211 or Connect2Help services also list opportunities under “Parenting Education” throughout the two county area.
Residential Services Residential treatment provides 24-hour awake night staffing, in house crisis back-up, and an array of psychological assessment and treatment services for youth with severe emotional and behavioral issues.  Residential services include short term residential assessments to develop an appropriate understanding of the child’s needs and treatment plan, and long term residential placements which address psychiatric and/or multiple mental health needs when other less intensive services have not been sufficient. Residential Services are available at Oaklawn and Bashor Children’s Home in Elkhart County and St. Joseph Counties.
Respite Care Respite Services offer parents or guardians a much needed break when a child in their care is experiencing severe emotional and/or behavioral difficulties.  Respite care may be provided in the home or in a variety of community settings, for part of a day or, in some agencies, over night or for several days.  Respite care can also be provided in a variety of out-of-home settings or by simply having a worker take a child on an outing for several hours. Respite services are typically provided as part of a coordinated service plan or for children and families with multifaceted treatment plans addressing intensive mental healthcare needs. Funding for respite care is limited to children who participate in certain programs. Call your mental health service provider directly to find out if they provide respite services and if your child qualifies.
School Based Services (for children and youth in grades K-12) Each school’s supports for children and youth encompasses a wide continuum of prevention activities, supports, and services for children and adolescents who are having difficulty in school, including for those struggles that are due to mental health and/or substance abuse concerns. It is important to remember that like so many other things, these vary from school district to school district within Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties and even from school to school.Typical services may include meetings with a school guidance counselor, a student assistance counselor, school based social worker or school based care facilitator or skills trainer, one to one behavioral support, social skills groups, after school clubs, school based mentoring, tutoring, or special education services. Make an inquiry with your school’s counselor, social worker or principal about available school based services, eligibility requirements, and how to access them.
Specialized Alternative Schools Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties have specialized alternative schools where trained teaching staff understand how behavioral health challenges manifest in youth and how to intervene in a therapeutic way. These schools may also provide youth opportunities to access social workers and behavioral interventionists. Almost all of the local school corporations in Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties have specialized alternative schools for students. Other local examples of these types of programs include The Crossing and Bashor Children’s Home. Referrals to specialized alternative day schools typically come directly from the child or adolescent’s local school.  For more information, call your child’s school directly.
Substance Abuse and Addictions Treatment Services An array of in-patient and out-patient substance abuse programs are located throughout the community. For information on treatment programs, or where to get help contact The Alcohol & Addictions Resource Center (AARC) 574.234.6024. AARC, located in South Bend, provides objective and independent clinical addictions assessment services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a treatment locator as does the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addictions. Many providers take multiple insurances. Others serve only adults or are gender specific in their programming. Services located in the tow county area include:Oaklawn Psychiatric Center 574.533.1234 (Elkhart County) or 574.283.1234 (St. Joseph County) Addictions Recovery Center, Inc. 574.293.1086 (Elkhart), 574.533.6154 (Goshen) and 574.807.8690(South Bend)Center for Problem Resolution 574.294.7447(Elkhart)Crossroads Counseling 574.233.4183 (South Bend)

Elkhart General Hospital Center for Behavioral Medicine 574.294.2621 Ext 3348 (Elkhart)

Life Treatment Centers 574.389.8080 (Elkhart) 574.233.5433 (South Bend)

A New Beginning 574.534.5778 (Goshen)

Recovery Journey, Inc. 574.264.5840 (Elkhart)

Victory Clinic Services II 574.233.1524 (South Bend)

YWCA of North Central Indiana Women’s Journey 574.233-9491 (South Bend)

Camp Mariposa is a first-of-its-kind program designed to help meet the needs of children and teens facing the difficult challenges associated with an addicted or co-dependent family member. Contact Michelle Olson at Oaklawn 574.533.1234.

Transition Age Youth Services (for youth ages 16-21) “Youth in Transition” refers to any young adult who is age 16-21, in the years of transition from childhood to adulthood. In Indiana Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) will work with those eligible youth with supports like vocational training, finding and keeping a job, and the supports a young person may need to lead a successful adult life. Eligible youth will be referred to Vocational Rehabilitation Services in their transition case conference in school.  However,  the referred individual must submit a written application requesting vocational rehabilitation services.  The local number for the Elkhart office is 574.262.2086 and for South Bend 574.232.4861.After application is made, the VRS counselor gathers and evaluates medical, educational, vocational, and other information to determine eligibility.
Wraparound Practice Model While wraparound is not a service, per se, mental health services and supports can be delivered within the context of the wraparound practice model. Simply stated wraparound can be described as “a process that wraps services and supports around kids and families to help them be successful.” Wraparound practice is most helpful when a child or youth’s needs are so complex that s/he is involved in many systems. In order to see if a child or youth from Elkhart or St. Joseph Counties qualifies for wraparound, call the Access Site, 574.246.9102 to arrange for an assessment.
Web development by Panther Internet, Inc.