Life Connections expanding to meet mental health needs

Life Connections Expands Services

A place to heal and not feel alone.

That’s how guests describe the Wellness Center in DeWitt for its work to help people with mental illness.

Life Connections Peer Recovery Services which operations the center has been growing.

The organization told Local 4 News they received nearly $70,000 in new funding earlier this year.

That’s through the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region serving Scott, Clinton, Cedar, Jackson and Muscatine Counties. 

The money is being used to increase access to care and crisis services in the region.

Life Connections started making changes in February.

They told Local 4 News in addition to more resources and new staff the most significant change is their availability.

Even though the Wellness Center has been open for a couple of years, it was only with limited hours.

It’s easy for Tim Logsdon to open up at the Wellness Center in DeWitt. 

Wellness Center guest Tim Logsdon said, “It was a pretty good week for me.”

This day, Tim is one of the guests working with peer-support specialists on photo booth signs, while serving as a form of therapy.

Logsdon said, “Had some issues with myself where I would get mad at myself over something I couldn’t do anything about. I’ve learned how to deal with that stress better.”

Tim makes regular visits to the Wellness Center since he started attending earlier this year.

Logsdon said, “I’m a schizophrenic, and I have issues I deal with every day.”

With funding from the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region, there’s been an uptick in the frequency of his visits. 

Peer Support Specialist and Center Coordinator John Juhl said, “They used to have it only three days a week. There were just some many people that just couldn’t even do those times.”

John Juhl was the recently appointed coordinator of the Wellness Center when it expanded to six days a week.

Juhl said, “You can just come here and relax. If you want help with stuff, we’re right on it.”

Life Connection told Local 4 News a benefit of the Center is it helps keep people from unnecessary hospital stays. 

He started as a guest himself before training as a peer support specialist.

“Having an effect on people in a good way. Help them with their problem. I wish I had people like that when I was really sick,” said Juhl. 

He added, “It’s helped me work with other people and give me some kind of balance. I know I belong somewhere now. It’s good because it keeps me from getting stressed out too much because it doesn’t take much.”

Juhl said in the new role he’s not just helping people heal, cope and find a retreat from stressors, but meet their basic needs like housing. 

Staff also said their hours, mostly in the evening and on the weekend are also different from a lot of providers. That makes it possible to help people in those off hours get the help they need. 

“Utilize this place whenever they want to. They’re able to stay for a whole five hours if they want to just to not be at home as much,” said Peer Support Specialist Raymond Ackerman.

But for Tim, the highest value is knowing there’s an easier time finding an ear to listen. 

Logsdon said, “Know I have someone to talk to when I think I have no one.”

Peer Services at Vera French and Muscatine Center for Social also received funding in the same round through Eastern Iowa MHDS Region.

Life Connections also told Local 4 News there’s the possibility for more funding in just a few months hoping to receive more funding sometime this summer.  

Sunday: 12 pm to 5 pm

Monday  5 pm to 10 pm

Tuesday: 5 pm to 10 pm

Wednesday: Closed

Thursday: 5 pm to 10 pm

Friday:  5 pm to 10 pm

Saturday: 12 pm to 5 pm

Located at the Southwest door of the Dewitt United Methodist Church 222 E. 12th St DeWitt, Iowa

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.