It Began with a Vision
World War II provided a unique opportunity for conscientious objectors who were assigned to work in state mental hospitals. They were dismayed by the impersonal, sometimes cruel and brutal treatment inflicted upon persons with mental illness.
Believing the church had something important to contribute to mental healthcare, the Mennonite Central Committee organized Mennonite Mental Health Services, an agency of Mennonite groups in the United States, to plan three small hospitals. As a result, Prairie View opened on March 15, 1954 in Newton, Kansas. This hospital, funded primarily by Mennonite contributions and built with volunteer labor and supplies, provided the first Mennonite establishment to deal with treatment of mental illness in the Midwest. There were seven staff members and 12 voluntary service workers on hand for opening day, all with dreams and visions of making a difference in the lives of those suffering from mental illnesses.
Prairie View adopted a treatment philosophy that held individuals responsible for their behavior. This belief was in contrast to traditional treatment philosophy.
Due to its revolutionary progressive treatment, Prairie View saw enormous growth in the 1960s, becoming the community health center for Harvey, McPherson and Marion counties.
In 1968, Prairie View received national recognition with the Gold Award from the American Psychiatric Association. It was the highest recognition for excellence as a leader on the cutting edge of providing services to persons with mental illness.
Today Prairie View has five locations in Kansas and offers a complete range of addiction, behavioral and mental health services, including acute inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, individual and family therapy, services for adults and older adults, pastoral counseling, child and adolescent services, special purpose school, marriage counseling, alcohol and substance abuse treatment and an inpatient Addictions Treatment Center.
Prairie View is accredited by the Joint Commission and licensed by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.