Stemming from the enthusiasm of local residents, the Winneshiek County Association for Mental Health is considered the parent of the Center which began service in May of 1956 and was incorporated with the support of the Allamakee County Association for Mental Health. It was first known as the WinneshiekAllamakee Counties Guidance Center, but was later called the Northeast Iowa Guidance Center.
In July of 1959, the Howard County Association for Mental Health began underwriting the costs of psychiatric treatment to the residents of Howard County. Then, in January of 1960, the Howard County Board of Supervisors formally assumed the financial responsibility and made it the first Center in the state to service three counties. In January, 1967, Clayton County was formally added to the service area and it was at that time the Center became known as the Northeast Iowa Mental Health Center.
The Mental Health Center started a substance abuse treatment program in December of 1972 at the request of the Allamakee, Clayton, Howard and Winneshiek County Boards of Supervisors, the State Office of Planning and Programming, and the Iowa State Commission on Alcoholism. Fayette County joined the substance abuse program at the Center in 1976 and the mental health program in 1977. Buchanan County joined the mental health program in September of 1982. Delaware County contracted for mental health services from July, 1985 until February, 1992.
In March of 1971, the Center moved to 305 Montgomery Street in Decorah. Satellite office facilities were secured by contractual agreements with respective community agencies or individuals in Cresco, Elkader, Independence, Waukon and West Union. A branch office was established in October of 1982 at the Community Memorial Hospital in Postville but was closed in 1990. A satellite office was opened in Postville in January, 1995 and closed on June 30, 1997. The Corporation purchased a building in 1983 for the branch office in Oelwein. It is located at 1297 South Frederick Avenue, Oelwein. In April of 1991, the Center opened a “Group Center” facility at 506 Montgomery Plaza in Decorah. It was vacated in 1994. The Independence satellite office was closed when Buchanan County withdrew from the Northeast Iowa Mental Health Center. June 30, 1998 was the last day of service to residents of Buchanan County. A second satellite office was opened in West Union in January, 1999. This office was closed at the end of FY 2005 when Fayette County cancelled their contract with the Center for mental health services. The Center established practice sites for the children’s ESTEEM program in the Oelwein Community School district in the spring of 1998, the Allamakee Community School district in June, 1999 and the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District in September, 1999.
The Decorah facility moved to a newly constructed building at 905 Montgomery Street in November of 1994. Construction was funded by a Community Development Block Grant which required one third matching funds.
On April 6, 1993, the Center formally adopted a corporate relationship with Lutheran Health System, Inc. of LaCrosse, Wisconsin for the purpose of aiding the coordination and delivery of quality health and education services to Northeast Iowa. This affiliation was modified by the Board of Directors and the Gundersen Health System Board in April, 2002 by adoption of restated Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.
The Center purchased the former Interstate Power building at 36 South Frederick and moved the Oelwein operation to that location in November, 2000. The purchase provided double the space to accommodate significant expansion of services to Fayette County during this period. Also during this period, the Center adopted a Wellness Recovery philosophy with a mission to “Promote Recovery and Quality of Life”.
In FY 2006, the Center started doing business as Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health, Inc. with a new logo and updated signage.
The Center currently maintains a five county catchment area covering Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek Counties for substance abuse services. The Center is contracted with Allamakee, Clayton, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties for mental health services, and is a mental health provider in those counties as well as for Fayette County.
The Center is accredited by the State of Iowa, Department of Human Services and licensed by the Iowa Department of Public Health. It is a member of the Iowa Behavioral Health Association and the Iowa Substance Abuse Supervisors Association.