Prairie View celebrates 60 years

This month, the home of Prairie View, Inc., Newton, celebrates its early beginnings and 60 years of offering mental and behavior health care services.

Throughout the span of World War II, conscientious objectors — including 1,500 Mennonites — learned firsthand that the mentally ill were warehoused in state-operated hospitals.

When the war ended and they returned to their home congregations, these young men shared their experiences and pondered how the denomination could improve the conditions of mental health treatment.

Their sense of urgency and moral responsibility inspired Mennonites to advocate for dispelling the stigma associated with mental illness. They recognized that persons suffering from mental disorders were within their own families, congregations, and communities and deserved the highest quality and most humane treatment possible.

At the same time in history, great minds emerged in the fields of psychiatry and science of the human brain, and treatment for diseases began to evolve.

After five years of planning and praying, the Central Care Advisory Committee, composed of Mennonite Central Committee-related groups, opened “Prairie View” on March 15, 1954. A 60-bed psychiatric hospital for Mennonites was built by volunteer labor and staffed largely by volunteers. The service quickly spread to include anyone who needed it.

Now, through inpatient, outpatient, and community-based services, more than 13,000 patients are served annually by Prairie View.

The faith-based provider offers treatment and psychiatric services for all ages, as well as consultations for businesses and organizations. In addition to the main campus in Newton with outpatient offices, psychiatric hospital, residential treatment for adolescents, and an addictions treatment center, Prairie View serves patients in Hillsboro, McPherson, and two locations in Wichita.

Although the agency receives funding from various public systems and many commercial payers, annual gifts, grants, and charitable bequests are needed to cover the actual cost of service, especially for those without adequate health insurance or financial resources.

To find out how to support Prairie View’s mission, call (800) 992-6292 or visit www.prairieview.org/support-us/.

 

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