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May 4, 2012

LifeSpring to reopen New Albany facility

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — A LifeSpring facility along Spring Street in New Albany will open back up this summer after being closed since 2010.

The reopening comes after the community mental health center received a $417,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addiction through a competitive process.

Some of that funding will be used to rehabilitate the facility, called the Sarkisian House, with new carpet, paint, furniture and appliances, said LifeSpring President and Chief Executive Officer Terry Stawar.

“It wasn’t in great shape when we closed it,” he said.

The majority of the funds, however, will be used to cover operating costs for the facility. Sarkisian House is an eight-bed residential program that supports men with serious mental illnesses and/or co-occurring disorders including substance abuse, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

It’s a supervised living arrangement purposed to stabilize residents and reintegrate them into the community from state operated facilities.

“It’s pretty much the same population that was there before,” Stawar said.

Sarkisian was one of three LifeSpring facilities closed in 2010 after the state changed the way mental health providers bill for Medicaid services. That cut into the organization’s revenue, facilities were closed and about 50 staff members were cut that year.

“With the grant money to supplement it, we think we’ll be able to operate it,” he said.

However, he admits, the organization will have to search for additional grant dollars to keep the program afloat after this year.

“LifeSpring is delighted to be able to reopen Sarkisian House as a community resource,” he said in the release. “The availability of this resource in the community will go a long way in helping LifeSpring fulfill its mission to improve the quality of life for people with mental illness and addiction disorders.”

LifeSpring is a state-designated community mental health center operating facilities in Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Jefferson, Scott and Washington counties. It provides mental health and substance abuse addiction services to more than 7,000 individuals annually.


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