Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center improves services with new location

Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center improves services with new location

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) - A new mental health care center is looking to offer more options to people in the region. Hiawatha Valley Mental Health of Winona is holding an open house for its new location on East Sarnia Street. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is something that is becoming a major priority for communities everywhere. In Winona Minnesota, there is a building where people are changing lives. 

"Hiawatha Valley offers outpatient mental health, psychiatry, we work with adults with serious and persistent mental illness," said Lori Kuenn, children & family services director with Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center. "We do a lot of work with kids and families."

Hiawatha Valley Mental Health has recently completed construction on its new building. 

"We just felt there was a need to have a better space," said Hiawatha Valley president Erik Sievers. 

The new building combines operations from the organization's two previous locations to make life easier for its staff and patients. 

"The old facility had no room for growth," Sievers said. 

Kuenn does a lot of work with the organization's school grant program. 

"We put therapists right in the building and skills workers that go in the building," Kuenn said. "They help the therapists work better with kids." 

She said the new building gives people a place they can feel safe. 

"We are taking that stigma away," Kuenn said. "We are being more open, inviting and embracing in order to help people feel better." 

She said the old building would often scare people away because of its looks. 

"It was in this dingy old little basement," Kuenn said. "Now when kids get off the elevator it's light, it's beautiful." 

Now that the extreme makeover is complete, they can get to the important reason behind the structure; helping people, especially children. 

"The earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis," Kuenn said. "They do better in school, they do better in the community and they do better in life."

It helps create a bright future for everyone in the community.

"I hear stories every single day and they're just amazing," Kuenn said. "I work with a whole group of heroes." 

Hiawatha Valley officials say the new location will also be used as a training resource for the community so other organizations can learn more about mental health in the community. 

It also has a peer support network. Any adults who are going through hard times can stop in free of charge and receive support from that group at the facility. 

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