Physical and Mental Health Resources Available for JC Residents |

Help is just a phone call away.

Regardless of your age, we all face adversity in our lives. At the Jennings County Commissioners meeting on Thursday, February 24, presenters shared data regarding underserved communities in Jennings County and explained the resources their programs offer to meet those needs.

Linda Hershman, Children’s Bureau, Inc.

The Children’s Bureau is a private, non-profit organization serving children and families since 1851. Many families need help overcoming the challenges that sometimes lead to unhealthy behaviors and threaten a child’s well-being. .

The objectives of the office are to prevent, to intervene, to protect, to accompany.

They partnered with the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) to create the Community Partners for Child Safety (CPCS), which focus on protecting children from the intervention of the child protection system and strengthening community resources.

Secondary prevention resources offered by CPCS include providing direct services to families. These services are: parenting education, financial assistance (rent and utilities, basic needs, security), connection with local community resources, referral to long-term services, establishment of social connections, housing, childcare and benefit programs.

Of these services, the most important needs in Jennings County, according to Children’s Bureau, Inc. Assistant Director Linda Hershman, are:

  • Financial aid
  • Referral to long-term services (mental health)
  • Lodging
  • Transport

Jennings County is part of CPCS Region 14. Region 14’s headquarters are located at the Children’s Bureau, Inc. at 1531 13th Street in Columbus. For questions, contact their liaison Jennings Kayla Kimball at 317-954-4609 or To refer a child, visit

Charlinda Evans, Perceptions/Drugs and Alcohol Working Group

Charlinda Evans is co-owner of Perceptions Youth, Mindfulness & Yoga studio in Vernon. Their mission is to provide underserved populations with the opportunity to seek wellness, self-care, wholeness, and healing through the practices of trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness, and art.

Evans told commissioners that adverse childhood experiences (ACE), or traumatic events that occur during childhood, are a significant challenge in Jennings County. They impact all types of people, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, and gender. ACEs are common and have a lasting impact.

Chronic stress and poor mental health lead to poor physical health, impaired development, lack of academic achievement, lack of work productivity, and higher prevalence of risky behaviors, according to Evans.

Indiana was ranked 42nd in the nation for higher prevalence of mental illnesses and substance use disorders and lower rates of access to care. Indiana was also ranked 18th for adults with substance use disorders and preliminary data showed a 47% increase in overdoses in 2020 compared to 2019. Finally, Indiana ranks 7th for the highest percentage of adults reporting serious suicidal thoughts.

Evans went on to give statistics for Jennings County. JC schools are home to a high percentage of children who qualify for a free or reduced lunch (60%), abused children (21st in the state), and children living with single parents (31.7%).

50% of children removed from JC homes are due to drug addiction. 50% of the local prison population is incarcerated for a drug or alcohol related offence. 25% of JC newborns have been exposed to drugs.

Additionally, a 2021 Columbus Regional Health Survey found that JC respondents had a significantly higher rate of diagnosed depression than state and national results at 37.8%.

43% of JC respondents indicated that their life had been negatively affected by substance abuse. According to the CDC, JC is one of the nation’s 220 counties most at risk for AIDS and hepatitis epidemics due to injection drug use.

Despite these statistics and the lack of proper resources in the county, Evans says at least four major funding requests, worth more than $350,000, have been sent to Indiana counties in the last three years. months, making funds available to address substance use and/or mental health disorders, but no JC agency or nonprofit organization took advantage of these offers.

Perceptions offers certified, trauma-informed community training courses at little or no cost to everyone in the community. They also offer trauma-informed yoga for those struggling with stress, addiction, and mental health issues, as well as art classes and mindful experiences to promote overall well-being.

They are located at 139 E US Hwy 3 in Vernon. Contact 812-592-1901 or visit with any questions.

Carla Wright, Self-Harm Reduction

Harm reduction is any activity that reduces harm, which can be something as simple as wearing a seat belt and applying sunscreen.

Harm reduction for people who use/abuse substances is defined as SAMHAS and is a proactive, evidence-based approach to reducing the negative personal and public health effects of behaviors associated with alcohol and substance use. other substances at individual and community level.

“It’s public health!” said Carla Wright. Wright is a community volunteer and currently maintains two Naloxboxes in Jennings County and does community outreach for harm reduction in Country Squire Lakes. Naloboxes are self-contained boxes containing the Narcan nasal spray that are accessible 24/7 and are funded by a grant from Governor Eric Holcomb with Overdose Lifeline. They can be found at North Vernon Centerstone, CSL at the Bait Shack and will soon be available at the Wayside Inn.

Wright detailed the current harm reduction efforts she is working to provide in Jennings County.

CSL’s community outreach includes the provision of Narcan, safer-use supplies, hygiene items, treatment information, insurance navigation referrals, and HIV and hepatitis testing C, but they currently lack a safe space to perform the test.

At Jennings County Jail, Thrive Recovery coaches meet in the jail and offer referrals to inmates upon release as well as insurance navigation for coverage upon release. This had setbacks due to COVID-19.

Coming in April via Zoom, anti-stigma education will be available from Cass Botts with IU Center for Rural Engagement. The Indiana Rural Opioid Consortium also hosts an education day in June.

Wright says there are three ways to help:

  • To be involved
  • Learn more about substance use disorders
  • Community connectivity is key

The Jennings County Drug and Alcohol Task Force meets once a month via Zoom. Wright says it’s a great way to start getting involved. She also plans to restart CSL outreach at the CSL Clubhouse, weather permitting. Those interested can contact Wright on Facebook or contact her at 812-592-1588.

The Jennings County Drug and Alcohol Task Force meets the first Thursday of each month at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom. Contact Carla for more details on Zoom.

Sue Lambor, Thrive Alliance

Sue Lamborn of Thrive Alliance explained how they work to improve lives and build community for seniors.

First, they meet the basic needs of older people. They do this by providing information about aging and people with disabilities and referrals to community resources as well as access to affordable rental housing, health and safety home repairs, planning and care management, meals delivered to homes, pre-admission screening in retirement homes, long-term care. legal services and guardianship services for adults.

Then, they maximize their independence using wellness classes, medication dispensers, early childhood interventions, transitions between care settings (hospital to home), and dementia-friendly systems .

Thrive Alliance also works to improve physical and mental health with lunch sites, tutors for foster grandparents, caregiver support and education, and volunteer relationships.

Finally, they promote community and social engagement by funding accessible transportation and home safety, hazard, and mobility improvement inspections in addition to some of the other resources mentioned above.

If you or someone you know is in need of these types of services, you can contact 866-644-6407 and ask for a Phone Options Advisor.

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