A Fond Farewell to a Remarkable Community Leader

It is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of Dr. Suzanne Gresham on December 13, 2023. In 1979, Suzanne became the first woman to head a community mental health center in Indiana when she became President and CEO of Comprehensive Mental Health Services, later rebranded as Meridian Health Services. She served in this position for 23 of the Center’s 26-year history until her retirement in March 2002. During this time the organization went from a staff of 42 serving 2,000 people each year to a staff of 230 serving more than 5,500 individuals. She led the organization through a number of initiatives that would provide better access to care and an expansion of services.

Many of these early ventures laid the foundation for several Meridian’s behavioral health programs including:

  • The establishment of a specialized program for the “dually diagnosed” in Delaware County – now referred to as our Connxxions Program serving those with intellectual or developmental disorders and mental health needs throughout the state of Indiana.
  • The creation of a specialized therapeutic foster care program for severely emotionally distressed children which has now transformed into our FosterHope program that brings hope and support to Indiana’s children in need of emotional, behavioral, or mental health assistance.
  • The formation of a “Children’s Team” to provide services to children and teens, as well as the establishment of school-based services which has now grown to Meridian providing services to children throughout the state through primary medical care, behavioral health services, school-based health clinics, and more.
  • The expansion of Addictions and Recovery programs including aftercare and day treatment programs, group therapy services, and an Intensive Outpatient Program for substance use treatment.

Meridian Health Services would not be where we are today if it had not been for the foundation that Dr. Suzanne Gresham built. In 2007, Meridian honored Dr. Suzanne Gresham and her commitment to expanding mental and behavioral health care for children and families with the establishment of the Suzanne Gresham Center. In Muncie, the Suzanne Gresham Center offers a wide array of programs and collaborates with other community entities to assist families and children facing issues such as abuse, neglect, substance use, behavioral issues, and social challenges. Some of these programs include therapy and counseling, family-centered services, intensive family preservation and reunification services, and school-based services.

Additionally, the Suzanne Gresham Center houses the Child Advocacy Center where interviews and investigations of children who have experienced trauma from abuse and other harmful situations are conducted in a concise and caring manner – leading to higher prosecution rates of the abusers.

Her legacy lives on every day at Meridian each time a child is placed into a loving home through our FosterHope program; when a person reaches their six-month sobriety milestone after receiving addictions and recovery services; when an adult in our Connxxions program is able to live independently for the first time; and when someone receives the mental health services they need to overcome a period of struggle in their lives.

In honor of Suzanne, donations can be made to the Suzanne Gresham Center Fund at The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County here.

A Celebration of Suzanne’s Life will be held at 1:00 p.m., January 13 at First Presbyterian Church, 1400 W. Riverside Ave., Muncie. Friends may call from 11:00 a.m. until service time at 1:00 p.m.

Our deepest sympathy is with her family at this time. You can read more about Dr. Suzanne Gresham here.