Welcome to the new Plains Area Mental Health Center Website!

Our History

Discover our history at Plains Area Mental Health.


In April of 1972, the Plains Area Mental Health Center opened its doors on a one-day-a-week basis and began serving the residents of Plymouth County. Office space was donated by Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars. Its staff included one part-time psychologist, a consulting psychiatrist, a part-time social worker, and a part-time secretary. Because of the need for more professional time, a full-time person, who served as both executive director and psychologist, was added to the center staff on January 1, 1973. During the first year, 166 clients were seen with an annual budget of approximately $18,000. Services included individual and couple counseling and family therapy.


In 1977 Interested citizens of Souix and Cherokee Counties approached the Board of Directors regarding the establishment of community health services in their areas. Part-time services began in Sioux County in November 1977. The Cherokee County office opened for service in July 1978.


In May of 1983, an agreement was entered into between the Plains Area Board and the Ida County Supervisors to provide community mental health services to Ida County residents. The first clients were seen in Ida Grove on July 1, 1983.


2001 the City of Le Mars received a grant to renovate the Weidler Building on the old Westmar campus in Le Mars. The grant was designed to house non-profit organizations. Plains Area Mental Health Center, Mid Sioux Opportunity, Alzheimer’s Association, and Le Mars Day Care would occupy this renovated building, which would be called the Weidler Community Service Center.


On May 30, 2003, the Le Mars office of PAMHC moved to 180 10th St SE, Suite 201 at the Weidler Community Service Center. Also in May of the same year, plans began for the relocation of the Cherokee office of the PAMHC. In November of 2003, the Cherokee office moved to 900 North Second Street, Suite A.


In July of 2004, Sioux County chose to contract with a different organization for their mental health services. Plains Area Mental Health Center continued to hold office in Orange City for outpatient and psychiatric services for those who wish to continue with Plains Area.m WIth this change the Senior Care Program was started in which our Psychiatrist goes directly to the various nursing homes to provide psychiatric care to residents.


In February of 2005, Plains Area began services in Storm Lake at the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center one day a week. March of 2005 Plains Area began its ACES (Accessing Counseling in Educational Settings) Program in Plymouth County.


In the year of 2006, Plains Area began Free On-Line Mental Health Screenings for Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Eating Disorders, and Alcohol Use. In 2006 we began offering an employee assistance program named “Solutions EAP”. This service is available to employers within our service area and provides an additional low-cost, highly effective employer-sponsored benefit program. In an effort to better reflect the service image of the Center, we initiated a logo change that removed the “perceived” service area our former logo conveyed.


Early in 2008, Plains Area Mental Health was approached by the Buena Vista County Supervisors to contract with them for services. In July of 2008 Plains Area Mental Health, Inc. opened its doors full-time in Storm Lake, Iowa. Staff included a receptionist, one full-time therapist, a part-time ARNP, and a physician. November 2009, the Storm Lake offices moved to 728 Erie St in Storm Lake. And along came an influx of clients. The staff grew to 2 full-time therapists, two part-time therapists, a CSP staff, and two full-time receptionists with translation abilities. The part-time psychiatric staff was also increased. Early in 2012 Carroll County began negotiations with Plains Area Mental Health to provide services. July 1, 2012, Plains Area opened its doors in Carroll, Iowa at the Club House location at 104 W 6th Street taking over services of the Richmond Center. Within a month the outpatient therapy services moved to 608 N Court Street.


In March of 2012, Magellan Behavioral Health Services selected Plains Area to partner with them as the provider of integrated Health Home (IHH) services for the following counties; Buena Vista, Caroll, Cherokee, Crawford, Greene, Ida, Monona, Plymouth, Sac and Sioux. IHH is an approach to care that ensures individuals receive holistic comprehensive integrated care emphasizing the importance of both physical and behavioral health care, while also addressing support needs. Prevention, Wellness, and encouraging healthy lifestyles are also major focuses of the IHH model. Plains Area will collaborate with Magellan and other community providers to identify Medicaid-eligible adults with serious mental illnesses (SMI) and Medicaid-eligible children with serious emotional disorders (SED) who could benefit from integrated Health Home services. In March 2014 the board of Directors of PAMHC based in Le Mars announced the integration of programs and services with West Iowa Community Mental Health Center based in Denison, Iowa. December 2014, the need for more space necessitated the Carroll office to move to 318 S Maple St. in Carroll.


April 19, 2016, Plains Area Mental Health opened the Turning Point, a 9-bed crisis stabilization home that provides short-term mental health services in a less intensive and restrictive environment than an inpatient setting. We aim to provide an option for 24-hour mental health care without the need for inpatient or court commitment. Individuals are provided access to a mental health professional daily and work with Crisis Home Staff to develop a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) to identify Triggers and coping skills.


In January 2017 the Denison office moved to 515 Hwy 39. The Den then moved to 20 North 14th St. In the fall of 2017, the board of Directors approved the purchase of the building at 180 10th St NE from the City of Le Mars.


In April 2018 Plains area was accredited to offer Substance Use Disorder Psychotherapy. Is an IDPH-licensed service that is incorporated into psychotherapy for individuals who are experiencing problems related to alcohol, prescription medication, and other illegal substances. Also, in April 2018 Plains Area was asked to begin providing services to IHH clients in Spirit Lake. A small office was secured for two new IHH staff at 710 Lake St in Spirit Lake. In May of 2018, the Cherokee offices were moved to 900 N 2nd St which allowed better access to services. In June 2018, The Meeting place in Le Mars moved to a new location. Plains Area purchased the building at 44 1st Ave NE and remodeled it for persons with Chronic mental illness.


In April 2019, Plains Area was asked to continue outpatient mental health services in Spirit Lake. More space was acquired at 710 Lake St. Two psychotherapists and a receptionist were hired, and services began. In June 2019, Plains Area was also approached by Hope Haven to provide outpatient mental health services in Emmetsburg. Plains Area took over Hope Havens’ space and staff and services began with two psychotherapists and a receptionist.


In March 2020, after much research and hard work Plains Area initiated a new EMR. And the COVID-19 Pandemic hit! In April of 2020, Plains Area was awarded a 4 million SAMHSA CCBHC expansion grant. A Certified Community Behavioral Clinic (CCBHC) is a comprehensive provider type that focuses on whole health and care coordination to affect better outcomes for persons with mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders, while also coordinating and referring for physical health and social determinant needs such as housing and transportation. This grant allowed us to expand Substance Use/Co-occurring services including hiring a Medication Assisted treatment (MAT) specific prescriber, expanding our integrated Health Services to everyone we serve regardless of funding, expand School-Based mental First Aid (MHFA), and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) to all of our communities.


Plains Area celebrates 50 years!! We have grown to over 160 employees providing services across 15 locations in Northwest Iowa.