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Memorial Hospital marks 10 years of treating behavioral health patients at Epworth Center and Hospital

In early 2011, Memorial Hospital pledged to provide psychiatric services and care at the former Madison Center properties on Niles Avenue near downtown South Bend. One of the biggest changes and challenges in the last 10 years has been the growing number of adults and teenagers seeking mental health treatment in our community.

WSBT-TV aired an “Eye on Health” segment Tuesday about the 10-year anniversary. (Video below)

Dr. Suhayl Nasr

More than 10,000 patients are served at Memorial’s Epworth facilities every year. This includes about 2,500 inpatients a year and 5,000 outpatients each month, and there is a long waiting list for others seeking behavioral health services.

Dr. Suhayl Nasr, Medical Director at Epworth Center and Hospital, has been instrumental in shaping the course the facilities have taken during the past decade. That course involved closing older Madison Center buildings, upgrading others, and ensuring a wide range of specialists and treatment options were available locally for patients.

“Our obligation is to see that we take care of folks in this community without them having to leave for healthcare elsewhere, and to do this in a very high-quality fashion,” Dr. Nasr said. “The volume of patients, the type of services and we have a range of providers, expanding the number of things we offer here in the community compared to what we started with 10 years ago.”

In addition to adding inpatient services, the Epworth interventional psychiatry department during this time introduced treatments that had not previously been available in our community, including electroconvulsive therapy services, transcranial magnetic stimulation and ketamine for depression and other disorders, Dr. Nasr said.

“In northern Indiana we pioneered the use of ketamine for suicidal thinking and depression when nothing else is working,” Dr. Nasr said. “We are doing some clinical research and are trying new medications, treatments and interventions. Working in psychiatry is not for the faint-hearted. It takes someone who is dedicated, motivated and who cares about people. All our staff has this commitment to the community.”

Lynn Rhody

Lynn Rhody, Social Services Manager at Epworth, describes the team approach that is taken by the entire staff to best serve patients. “Every day when we’re working with a new group of patients, we try to look at what the commonality is in terms of needs so that we can hone in on that with our treatment and our care,” she said.

And Memorial Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services Sarah Paturalski describes the importance of Memorial Hospital deciding to maintain mental health services in the community after Madison Center.

Sarah Paturalski

“It would have created a big void had someone not taken over,” Paturalski said. “I’m very proud of this team that shows up every day for a population of patients that not many other do. I think you’ll see us continue to step up and step forward for what the community needs.”

Tom Cassady, Jr., who serves on the Beacon Health System Board of Directors, explained how the decision to take over mental health services for Madison Center was the right one.

Tom Cassady, Jr., Beacon Health Board of Directors

“As a community-owned hospital and community-based health system, we take pride in doing what’s right. When we looked at what the community needed, it needed mental health care, and quality mental health care,” he said.

“I am so proud of what Memorial, and now Beacon, provides to our community that we did not have for mental health care 10 years ago,” Cassady added. “All of us deal with mental health issues in every family, and today I would recommend to community members that you can be confident in the care and treatment your family will get when they come to Epworth.”


About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Director of Communications. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.