A year after big gift, youth mental health initiative for Evansville moving ahead

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Courier & Press on 3/6/2023 by John T. Martin

EVANSVILLE − It’s been more than a year since Bill Stone, founder of SS&C Technologies and frequent benefactor to his hometown, and his wife Mary announced a $34 million gift to a youth mental health initiative at the Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville.

Little has been said publicly about the effort since then. Behind the scenes, discussion has focused on how to get the greatest value from Stone’s philanthropy. Officials’ goal is to create a mental health services delivery model in Evansville that’s emulated across the state and nation.

It won’t happen fast, said Dr. Steve Strakowski, who in April 2022 became executive director of what’s being called the Mary O’Daniel & Bill Stone Center for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

In fact, Strakowski described it as a decade-long endeavor, at least. But he said he’s committed to making it happen, and so will other professionals who come on board in 2023 and beyond.

There doesn’t seem to be any doubt about the need.

According to 2017-18 data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, 28% of Indiana residents ages 12-17 have a mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral issue.