Sinnissippi Centers, Inc. Timeline
Sinnissippi Centers, Inc. received the 2002 Ernest A. Codman Award from JCAHO (now known as The Joint Commission) and the American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric Services Award in 2003. These national honors recognized excellence in the use of outcomes measurement by health care organizations to achieve improvements in quality and safety of health care.
The beginnings of Sinnissippi Centers are traced to the early leadership of the Lee County Mental Health Association and the Lee Mental Health Clinic. In 1964 a part-time clinic was begun, initially located at the Lee County Health Department and later at rented space on Galena Avenue in Dixon.
In 1965 the demands for additional space and the absence of any viable mental health resource in the entire area mandated an expansion of the initial clinic efforts. Also, as a result of the 1963 federal legislation creating a national public policy for the establishment of community mental health centers, citizens from around the four county area were actively engaged in initial community mental health planning.
Similarly, the Illinois Department of Human Services - Office of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (DHS-OMHDD) began recognizing the need to move away from an institutional-based system of care to one oriented within the community. Through the "zone centers" organized by DHS-OMHDD, which were the service areas surrounding the state psychiatric hospitals, the state encouraged communities to band together in keeping with the original federal concept of a "catchment area" to assure and sanction the development of local delivery systems. Also, the General Assembly crafted various enabling legislation which, by referendum and other means, made local taxation for community mental health programming a reality.
Out of the dynamics and the efforts of hundreds of area citizens, the Sinnissippi Mental Health Center (renamed Sinnissippi Centers, Inc. in 1988) became a reality on May 31, 1966, serving Carroll, Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside Counties. A Board of Directors was established with representation from each of the four counties.
Sinnissippi started by providing professional, short-term outpatient evaluation and treatment services. The goal was to get people back on their feet as quickly as possible with the least interference to their daily living. Later, a 24-hour emergency service was begun to address the immediate needs of those whose problems had reached acute (suicidal, homicidal, or significantly disturbed) proportions. Again, a network of services was developed to help persons return to and become well integrated in the community once they had been discharged from either a public or private psychiatric hospital. Similarly, a program was created to take into account the special needs of those individuals and families with alcohol and other drug abuse related problems.
The expansion of programming over the past two decades has been the result of cooperation between Sinnissippi and a variety of community resources. With the expansion of programming, there has also been focus on making services more accessible to people and communities Sinnissippi serves. Initially, part-time "outpost" offices were established in several communities throughout the four county area. In 1981, SCI established permanent full time offices in Oregon and Mt. Carroll. In 1983 a office was established in Rochelle to serve those citizens from the eastern part of Ogle County and the northeastern portion of Lee County. In 1990 SCI opened its fourth office in Sterling to serve those individuals and families in Whiteside County.
Presently, Sinnissippi Centers provides services at Dixon, Sterling, Oregon, Rochelle, Mt. Carroll, Amboy, and Downtown Dixon. Services can also be provided through designated schools and work sites in the four county area.