Rehab Center

Winnebago Mental Health Institute

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Winnebago Mental Health Institute (WMHI) is a primary behavioral health service provider operating in Wisconsin. It currently holds an accreditation by The Joint Commission and includes a team of qualified staff members who work daily to help people of all ages get over their mental issues. The staff members help patients battling complex psychiatric conditions and challenging behaviors. Their goal is to help them recover, get better, and finally return home to continue a healthy life. All patients at this facility typically come from human services agencies and court systems, and the staff members at Winnebago Mental Health Institute work hard to ensure they get what they require for treatment.

Winnebago Mental Health Institute: A Brief Historical Overview

Winnebago Mental Health Institute is considered one of the earliest psychiatric hospitals of the 19th century, established on the Kirkbride Plan. The hospital site had been an object of competition between Oshkosh and Oshkosh, and its construction finally began in 1871 after reaching an agreement. Shortly after, the rehab opened its doors to patients in 1873 under Northern State Hospital for the Insane. The first patient who made its way to the facility was on April 21, 1873, and from there, the rehab never looked back. The original building was gradually completed until 1875 and had the capacity to hold 500 beds. By 1891, its capacity had significantly grown to accommodate up to 650 patients at a time.

Ever since its construction, Winnebago Mental Health Institute has had several name changes. For example, its name was changed to Winnebago State Hospital in the 1930s and finally to Winnebago Mental Health Institute in the 1970s. The rehab has catered to many famous historical figures, such as John Flammang Schrank, the attempted assassin of Theodore Roosevelt, who came to the rehab in 1912. By 1932, historians believe that the facility had grown to accommodate 864 patients at a time and had a team of 164 staff members to cater to their needs.

In 2011, Winnebago Mental Health Institute finally received accreditation from The Joint Commission and a certification from the State of Wisconsin Division of Quality Assurance. Currently, the rehab is working at a cut-down capacity of 169 patients to maintain strict quality measures.

Who Comes to Winnebago Mental Health Institute?

Winnebago Mental Health Institute primarily receives patients based on a referral from the court system or county health and human services agencies. Unfortunately, it only helps people who show up with a referral in hand. At the moment, the rehab is entertaining the following two types of patients:

Civil Patients

These patients are the ones who get an order to undergo psychiatric evaluations and treatment at appropriate mental health facilities. Most patients remain in inpatient rehab, meaning they check into the facility for a short time. The process of admission for such patients happens through emergency detention.

Forensic Patients

This category includes patients who receive a court order to enroll in any one or more of the following programs:

  • Mental health competency evaluation looks at a patient’s mental health and confirms how much they remember about their criminal charges.
  • Treatment for mental illness includes care for a patient who has not been convicted of a crime because of an underlying mental illness.
  • Treatment to competency services includes care for a patient who has failed to go to trial due to an underlying mental health condition. The purpose of this program is to restore mental health.

Types of Care Units at Winnebago Mental Health Institute

Winnebago Mental Health Institute has multiple patient care units, each offering different services. Some of these care units, along with the services they provide include the following:


This forensic unit in Gordon Hall helps patients prepare themselves to re-enter the community through work programs. It treats both male and female patients who require long-term psychiatric care. Choices is a minimum-security services unit.


Gemini is another minimum-security care unit that involves civil admission, assessment, and treatment. As part of Gordon Hall, it helps patients return home by treating them through intensive care programs. It caters to men and women with dual-diagnosis problems.

Petersik Hall South

It includes admission, assessment, and treatment of both male and female patients in a medium-security unit.

Petersik Hall North

This is another medium-security care unit with male and female patients kept for assessments and treatments.

Sherman Hall North and South

This hall includes civil units with men and women kept for psychiatric assessment, stabilization, medicine management, and treatment with minimal security.

Youth Services Unit

This care unit deals with kids and teenagers suffering from psychiatric disorders, behavioral disorders, and developmental disabilities. It also caters to patients with dually diagnosed substance use and mental health issues. The care team in this unit works with the patients, their families, and other staff members from the county where patients live through individual and group treatment sessions. The Youth Services Unit comes with separate wings for males and females.

Waterwood School

This facility deals with patients who require K-12 education services.


Can I walk into Winnebago Mental Health Institute for help?

Unfortunately, Winnebago Mental Health Institute does not facilitate any walk-in customers. This means that no one can check in without having a proper referral. If you require urgent help, consider calling a crisis line or a helpline or contact 911 emergency services.

Who can visit me at Winnebago Mental Health Institute?

Every patient at this rehab can have two visitors at one time. These visitors must be at least 12 years, and anyone younger than this would require approval from the treatment team before they can visit. Adults must accompany all visitors below 18 years.

What do Winnebago Mental Health Institute reviews say?

Reviews received by Winnebago Mental Health Institute are mixed, with some customers having a satisfactory experience while others with relatively poor stories to tell. Some of them have described the rehab as a comfortable place to stay with well-mannered and trained staff members. However, others have complained how the rehab facility is always noisy, which disturbs their sleep. Some patients in this facility have also compared it to a jail.

How much does it cost to get treatment at Winnebago Mental Health Institute?

Unfortunately, no information is available regarding the cost of treatment at Winnebago Mental Health Institute. The best way to know more about treatment costs is by calling the rehab and talking to a representative. In most cases, a quote regarding treatment cost is only provided once the rehab team has assessed a client’s needs and evaluated the type of program that would best suit them.