What today is Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest, Inc. began in 1898 as Bethesda Sanatorium, treating tuberculosis victims in Maxwell, New Mexico. This was the vision of Rev. Idzerd Van Dellen and his small Christian Reformed Church congregation in Maxwell. The Sanatorium in Maxwell was disbanded in 1908. In 1910 the Bethesda Sanatorium began its operations in Denver, Colorado. Bethesda continued to serve the needs of tuberculosis patients from 1910 to 1950.
In 1950 Bethesda Sanatorium became Bethesda Christian Hospital and changed its mission from serving the needs of tuberculosis patients to serving the needs of those struggling with mental illnesses. This change of mission was due to the successful eradication of tuberculosis and the vision of two Christian denominations to provide a Christian hospital for the mentally ill. Both the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America joined in providing a funding base, a board of directors, treatment professionals, and a service population to Bethesda Christian Hospital.
Bethesda became a large free standing, modern, full service, in-patient mental health hospital operating on a beautiful and spacious campus in what is now south Denver. Bethesda's patients came from communities scattered over the entire western United States from the Mississippi River to the west coast United States and Canada.
Beginning in the early 1960s Bethesda Christian Hospital designed a follow-up care program for discharged patients around the country. Bethesda would routinely send her doctors on regular trips to locations around the western United States where there was a concentration of discharged patients. These psychiatrists would set up appointments with discharged patients for the purpose of check-ups and medication management.
In 1965 Dr. Kroon made monthly visits to Orange City, Iowa. Soon Bethesda Christian Hospital recognized the need to provide ongoing outpatient psychotherapy and family therapy to discharged patients and their family members. Thus began the concept and establishment of outpatient clinics around the country all bearing the "Bethesda" name.
Bethesda Christian Hospital of Denver established six such clinics throughout the western United States and Canada. These clinics were located in Orange City, Iowa, Pasadena, California, Bellingham, Washington, Vancouver, British Columbia, Mount Vernon, Washington, and Denver, Colorado. The clinic in Orange City, Iowa opened its doors in 1975 and was named Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest. In 1986 Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest moved its main office from Orange City, Iowa to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Orange City remained a branch office of Bethesda Midwest. All of these clinics, including Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest, had their own advisory boards and directors; but were financed, operated, and governed under the direction of Bethesda Christian Hospital of Denver.
In 1993 Bethesda Christian Hospital in Denver was forced to terminate its services and close its doors due to the widening gap between the costs of running a free standing mental health hospital and the low rate of fee reimbursement from health insurance companies. However, prior to Bethesda Christian Hospital closing down, the director of Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest had the foresight to recommend to the advisory board that Bethesda Midwest purchase Bethesda's name and establish itself as an independent non-profit corporation. Thus, in 1992 Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest became Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest, Inc. and continued to offer out-patient mental health and family counseling as an independent out-patient non-profit, faith-based facility. Today Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest is the only remaining vestage of Bethesda Christian Hospital that bears her name and carries on her ministry of mercy in Christ's name.
Bethesda Christian Counseling Midwest, Inc. is now a full service out-patient counseling center governed by its own board of directors, an executive director and a medical director. She continues to serve churches and communities with a distinctly Christian vision to communicate God's grace to the mentally ill and traumatized through skillful clinical practices. She boasts a staff of four clerical/managerial persons and fifteen clinical/professional staff persons. Bethesda has expanded from offering services in two locations to ten locations in three states. Though Bethesda continues to receive financial donations from local churches of both the Christian Reformed and the Reformed Church in America, she is not governed or officially linked to any church. Bethesda receives no financial assistance from any government source. Our income is dependent solely upon insurance reimbursements, client pay, and donations from individuals and churches.
Information courtesy of Bridges Across the Years by Meindert Bosch.