Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health Facility Celebrates Renovation

Center dedicated to former leader, Dr. James J. Wright, includes majority of outpatient services

CONTACT: Todd Harper
Phone: 317.630.7808
Pager: 317.310.5972

Indianapolis, May 10, 2013 – The Indianapolis community will soon have a new center dedicated to providing adult outpatient mental health services to those most in need.

Earlier today, Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health celebrated the dedication of the new Dr. James J. Wright Center at 1700 N. Illinois St. The site has been under renovation to improve the space for both patients and staff.  Eskenazi Health Midtown is Indiana’s largest and first community mental health center.

“Today is a special day as we celebrate the renovation of this wonderful facility as well as the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing the Community Mental Health Act into legislation, creating funding for community mental health centers throughout the nation,” said Margie Payne, CEO of Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health and vice president of mental health operations for Wishard-Eskenazi Health. “It is only fitting that we dedicate this building during Mental Health Awareness Month to Dr. James J. Wright, the man who helped found Midtown as Indiana’s first community mental health center.”

As Eskenazi Health’s largest mental health center, the Dr. James J. Wright Center provides adult services, a pharmacy, vocational rehabilitation, supported employment services, and medical and nursing care. In addition, the art therapy program is also housed at the Dr. James J. Wright Center, including the Glad Writings Card Shop, Ceramics Program, Studio Art Group and Midtown Crossing, which is a client-driven program that works to achieve goals surrounding vocational and recreational activities. 

Payne also said the opening of the new center comes at a good time as the topic of mental health and the stigma associated with it has been in the news in recent months.

Dr. Wright’s family attended Friday’s dedication and participated in an unveiling of Dr. Wright’s portrait that will be displayed at the center.

As a leader in the mental health field for decades in Central Indiana, Dr. Wright completed a psychiatry residency at Indiana University School of Medicine in 1968. He then joined the staff at the then Marion County General Hospital before becoming the first medical director of Midtown Community Mental Health in 1969. In his 22 years as medical director at Midtown, the mental health center added partial hospitalization, neighborhood clinics, addiction services and crisis intervention.

Eskenazi Health Midtown’s community-based care model limits barriers when it comes to mental health. Some of these barriers include transportation, schedules and ultimately the stigma of accessing mental health care,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and medical director of Wishard-Eskenazi Health. “This model allows patients to receive mental health care services at the same time that they receive primary care services.”

Improvements to the facility, which originally opened as 1700 Place in 2006, include more energy-efficient features, with the installation of new windows and an updated heating and cooling system and additional parking for clients and visitors. When completed, the center will have updated registration areas, waiting rooms, kitchen, a multipurpose room, restrooms and three group rooms. The Glad Writings Card Shop and Ceramics Program also have new spaces, and the pharmacy is being expanded.

Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health was established in 1969 as the first mental health center in Indiana and offers an array of mental health services including severe mental illness and substance abuse treatment, 24-hour emergency services, a detoxification unit, full continuum for chronically addicted patients, specialized home- and community-based programs for seriously emotionally disturbed children and adolescents, and a partial-hospitalization program. 

For more information about the services offered at Eskenazi Health Midtown, please call 317.630.7791.