Tears flowed Nov. 17 as University of Evansville officials dedicated a mental health treatment and diagnosis facility named for a woman whose struggles led to a too-early death.
The Emily M. Young Assessment Center is part of the new Mental Health and Wellness Clinic on Lincoln Avenue, near Weinbach Avenue. Emily Young, who died in 2016 at age 32, was the daughter of retired U.S. District Judge Richard Young and his wife, Rose.
Described as state-of-the-art, the Mental Health and Wellness Clinic is operated by students in UE’s Doctor of Psychology clinical degree program, supervised by a licensed clinical psychologist. Its focus is on conditions such as ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, intellectual functioning, and personality functioning.
Within the clinic is the Emily M. Young Assessment Center equipped to provide advanced therapy and assessment services.
The facility is part of a partnership between UE and Easterseals Rehabilitation Center. Officials with Easterseals have spoken about the lengthy wait times for mental health assessments that many local individuals face; the new services at UE will shorten those.
UE officials expect the new facilities to be able to start seeing patients during the spring 2024 semester.
Retired Old National Bank CEO Bob Jones, who along with his wife, Lisa, provided the donation to name the assessment center for Emily Young, teared up as he described what the dedication meant.
“We were honored to be able to recognize Emily’s life through our donation … the center is a tribute to her lasting memory and the joy she brought to all of us who cherished and loved her deeply,” Jones says.
In addition to the Jones family, funding for the initiative came from philanthropists Bill and Mary Stone, the state’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) program, and the Koch Foundation.
Richard and Rose Young and their son Christopher listened as Jones, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, and others gave emotional remarks at the dedication. Audience members gathered at the site included former Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel and Mayor-Elect Stephanie Terry.
“This is a game-changer for our city,” Winnecke says. “It’s an opportunity to address pressing mental health issues that get pushed back because of a lack of availability for services. … It will be a beacon for everyone who comes through here.”
“This is one of those moments as a mayor that makes you just immensely proud,” Winnecke continued. “Yes, you fight away tears, and you know that at the end of the day, our community will be so much better.”
UE President Christopher Pietruszkiewicz says the on-campus initiative began as only a Doctor of Clinical Psychology program, but “with the help of so many other people, it is now reimagined into something so much bigger.”
Those people include the Young family, who wanted their daughter’s fight with mental health to be able to help others, Pietruszkiewicz adds.
“I just can’t even imagine the courage of the Young family to have an assessment center named for their daughter who passed too early,” he says. “The idea that we can use the memory of one person to impact the lives of thousands was the impetus for the ability to do this. I am so pleased that the Youngs gave us the honor of making sure their daughter’s name was part of helping the future of Evansville.”