Southern Hills Counseling Center, Inc. was established in 1968 and serves the residents of Dubois, Perry, Spencer, Orange, and Crawford Counties in southwestern Indiana.
Southern Hills is a not-for-profit community mental health center governed by an 11-member, volunteer Board of Directors. The Center employs over 170 full and part-time staff members at its five county offices and four residential facilities.
Services are provided in Jasper (Dubois County), English (Crawford County), Paoli (Orange County), Tell City (Perry County), and Rockport and Dale (Spencer County). A full array of services including individual, family, and group counseling, psychological assessment, psychiatric consultation, educational programs, and rehabilitative day treatment is available throughout the five counties served by Southern Hills.
Southern Hills also provides Employee Assistance Programs designed to meet the needs of employees and area businesses and provides inpatient services in conjunction with Memorial Hospital.
History of Community Mental Health Centers
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act, which drastically altered the delivery of mental health services and inspired a new era of optimism in mental healthcare. This law led to the establishment of more than 750 comprehensive community mental health centers throughout the country. It helped people with mental illnesses "warehoused" in secluded hospitals and isolated institutions move back into their communities.
Along with this law, the development of more effective psychotropic medications and new approaches to psychotherapy made community-based care for the mentally ill a more feasible alternative. A growing body of evidence demonstrated that most people with mental illnesses could be treated more effectively and in a more cost-effective manner in community settings than in traditional psychiatric hospitals. The populations of state inpatient hospitals has dropped from near 600,000 in 1955 to fewer than 70,000 today.
As services offered to the mentally ill became more diverse and comprehensive, it also became clear that helping people function at optimal levels would require the addition of treatment services for addiction disorders. This coordinated brand of service was labeled as “behavioral healthcare” — and providing comprehensive behavioral healthcare services is the goal of community-based organizations today.
Today, community-based behavioral healthcare continues to be a more effective option than institutionalization — in terms of access to care, quality services, and cost to the taxpayer and private payer. However, the organizations delivering such care have evolved far beyond the original community mental health centers. Community-based behavioral care is delivered by a mix of government and county-operated as well as private nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Services are funded by a patchwork of sources — largely by Medicaid (up to 70% of services) as well as by county, state, and federal programs; Medicare; and private insurance.
With modest increases in investment, today’s community mental health care providers can do an even better job of building healthy minds and strong communities — giving people with mental illness and addictions a chance to recover and lead productive lives.
"With compassion and respect, Southern Hills helps people make their lives work better!"