The beginning of Sinnissippi Centers was the result of the early leadership of the Lee County Mental Health Association and the Lee Mental Health Clinic as well as changing attitudes towards mental health treatment.
The first part-time clinic opened in 1964 which was located at the Lee County Health Department and later, Galena Avenue in Dixon, IL. The following year, the clinic expanded due to overwhelming demand and a lack of other mental health resources for those in the community.
Building on this foundation and the efforts of hundreds of area citizens, the Sinnissippi Mental Health Center was established on May 31, 1966 to provide services to individuals in Carroll, Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside Counties.
Sinnissippi began by providing professional, short-term outpatient evaluation and treatment services from office locations in Dixon and Sterling. The goal was to get people back on their feet as quickly as possible with the least interference to their daily living. In 1972, a 24-hour emergency service was started to address the immediate needs of those whose problems had reached acute (suicidal, homicidal, or significant) proportions. At the same time, a network of services was enhanced 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 use related problems.
In May of 1968, Sinnissippi moved out of the original Dixon location into a new location at 325 Illinois Route 2, Dixon. In 1976, Sinnissippi established part-time offices in Mt. Carroll, Oregon, and Rochelle. In 1981, Sinnissippi established permanent full-time offices in Oregon and Mt. Carroll. In 1983, a permanent full-time office was established in Rochelle to serve citizens of eastern Ogle County and northeast Lee County. In 1997, SCI opened a new full-time office in Sterling to better serve individuals and families in Whiteside County.
Meanwhile, in 1988 the name of the agency was changed to Sinnissippi Centers, Inc. to better reflect the expansion of programs and services that had occurred since 1966. That expansion of programming continues and has been the result of cooperation between Sinnissippi and a variety of community resources. This cooperation has focused on making services more accessible to the people and the communities Sinnissippi serves
One result of the expansion of services; Sinnissippi Centers began offering Supervised Residential Living at its first apartment site in at 616 6th Avenue in Sterling, beginning in July of 1990. Supervised Living apartments are operated to provide individuals with a serious mental illness the opportunity to develop skills that will enable them to live a more independent lifestyle. Later three other apartment sites were added, Fairview Apartments, Rochelle, in March 1997, Sullivan Apartments, Mt. Carrol, in May 2001, and Parks Place Apartments, Dixon, in June 2002. Finally, the new Sterling Apartments replaced the original 6th Avenue location in September of 2005. Those four apartment sites remain today serving individuals with a serious mental illness who stay for varying periods of time before moving back to independent housing in their communities.
Today, Sinnissippi continues to strive to help those who need it most within Carroll, Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside counties. Sinnissippi provides crisis support, individual and family counseling, early childhood mental health, addiction treatment & recovery services, and clinical services among many others. It has also grown to include many different projects including the Community That Cares Project, Ways to Wellness and Recovery, the Domestic Violence and Intervention Program and Parenting with Love and Limits.
Sinnissippi has been the recipient of the Ernest A. Codman Award from the Joint Commission as well as the American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric Services Award. Sinnissippi Centers has been accredited by the Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations since 1997.
Presently, Sinnissippi Centers provides services at main offices in Dixon, Sterling, Oregon, Rochelle, and Mt. Carroll, as well as through designated schools, medical facilities, and work sites in our four county area, at our two Recovery Homes (mens’ and womens’) and at four supervised living apartment sites.