Mental health care advocates in support of new Bettendorf facility

BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - A new mental health facility will break ground next January in Bettendorf becoming the first private mental health facility in the state of Iowa.

Prior to this, families seeking mental health treatment turned to the local emergency rooms or looked at hospitals outside the Quad Cities.

After their daughter Morgan attempted suicide, the Schmidt family took her to a pediatric psych unit in Iowa City.

"We knew that we couldn't possibly take home a twelve year old who was suicidal," says her mother, Christine Schmidt. "But we had absolutely no idea what we were going to do to help her."

Three days after taking her home, the Schmidt family had lost their girl forever.

"We thought what could have possibly gone wrong to make our smiling, happy daughter end her life," says Schmidt.

Since then, Schmidt has started an organization It's All Love, Only Love Coalition to spread awareness about mental health.

Schmidt believes the Strategic Behavioral Health facility will allow families in the Quad Cities to receive specialized care, but it won't necessarily replace and care hospitals already offer.

"It's a supplemental service that we can use and I honestly believe it will be utilized," Schmidt says.

Bettendorf 5th Ward Alderman Scott Webster also believes the facility will bring good to the area.

"I think it will help a lot of people and maybe bring some people out of the shadows who are facing mental illness," Webster says.

Jeff Reiter, Bettendorf's Economic and Development Director, agrees.

"It's raised awareness and I think it will raise the service levels of all the institutions who provide behavioral healthcare," says Reiter.

The facility will be located in I-74 Tech Park. It will offer a range of services, including a free face-to-face mental health evaluation as well as more acute psychiatric treatment.