In 1969, a group of concerned citizens identified a need for increased mental health services for their community’s most vulnerable residents. Seeking to increase the availability of services they considered vital to the well-being of members of the community, these individuals forged a relationship with a local mental health chapter. With a starting budget of $26,000 along with hopeful hearts, these individuals established a nonprofit corporation that became part of a state network of community mental health centers.

Today, Canvas Health is one of the most comprehensive behavioral health service providers in the Twin Cities. It provides an integrated system of care that addresses immediate concerns and offers additional supports, including transportation, housing and employment support.

The following timeline highlights some of the more significant accomplishments that have accompanied Canvas Health’s growth.


  • Mental health evaluation, treatment and psychiatry offered.
  • Stan Keeley named Program Director.


  • Saturday clinic added.
  • Substance Dependency information, assessment and referral started.
  • Substance Dependency offices established in Stillwater.
  • First general open house held.


  • Substance Dependency program started under a contract with the Washington County Welfare Department.


  • Name changed to Washington County Human Services, Inc.
  • Advisory committees established for Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Substance Dependency and Aging.
  • Meals-on-Wheels, a program that ensures hot, nutritious meals for seniors and persons with disabilities, established.


  • Clinical psychology and social work training programs begun.


  • Adult Mental Health Day Treatment program and the Senior Companion program launched.
  • The Substance Dependency program receives National Association of Counties Award.


  • Mental Health program starts a satellite office in Forest Lake.
  • Detox Transportation system implemented.
  • A 24-hour crisis line offered.
  • Specialized mental health services developed for children.


  • County-wide transportation system for seniors and persons with disabilities begun.
  • Aging program receives award from Minnesota Association of Counties.


  • Family Sexual Abuse Treatment and Rape Victim Advocacy programs added.
  • Aging program receives National Association of Counties Award.


  • Human Services, Inc. moved to new quarters at 7066 Stillwater Boulevard North, Oakdale. Land donated the previous year by local citizens Jim and Mitzi Olson.


  • Award-winning Family Treatment program developed, allowing emotionally disturbed children to stay in their own homes and communities.
  • Insight, a substance use education and evaluation program for individuals beginning to experience problems with alcohol, begun.


  • Name changed to Human Services, Inc. (HSI) in Washington County, Minnesota.
  • Family Treatment program receives National Association of Counties Award.


  • Doctoral training program in psychology receives approval from the American Psychological Association.
  • Family Treatment program receives award for outstanding services from Family-Based Services Association.


  • Community Support program established for adults with serious and persistent mental illness.


  • HSI appointed one of two Metro Mobility providers in Washington County.
  • Daily mental health crisis clinic and 24-hour availability established.
  • Employee Assistance program developed.


  • Dr. Robert Butler named Chief Operations Officer.
  • Supported Employment program established for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness.


  • Substance Dependency Community Prevention program started.


  • Family Community Support Services, a program with on-site staff at each school district provides services for children with emotional disturbances.
  • Housing program for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness started.


  • Dr. Robert Butler named Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Senior Resident Services program developed.


  • In-jail Substance Dependency Treatment program offered.
  • HSI-North office open in Forest Lake; South office open in Cottage Grove; Stillwater office moves to new quarters.
  • HSI and Washington County receive National Association of Counties Award for unique public/private partnership.


  • Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC) for adolescents open in Lakeview Hospital.
  • HSI celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • Psychiatry services expanded.


  • Construction begun on Family and Children’s Resource Center.
  • Doctoral Internship training program in clinical psychology awarded full accreditation by American Psychological Association.


  • TLC expanded; Family and Children ’s Resource Center completed at Oakdale location.
  • Children’s Mental Health Collaborative launched.


  • Circle of Friends, an adult day program provided in conjunction with Ascension Episcopal Church, begun in Stillwater.
  • Board approves expansion of TLC II at new Oak Park Heights location.


  • Services to young children improved through the expansion of Early Childhood Behavioral Assistance program.


  • Transportation Services moved into Oak Park Heights facility.
  • Circle of Friends program moved to Boutwell’s Landing.


  • Crisis Outreach program to work with older adolescents and young adults with a mental illness begun.
  • Circle of Friends, Woodbury, opened.


  • Cottage Grove office moved to new location.
  • Day Treatment program for young children in District 622 established.


  • In Stillwater, Home Free supportive housing project to help young adults with a mental illness opened.
  • HSI received a five year project grant from the Minnesota Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
  • Resources for ElderCare began Caregiver Counseling and Coaching.


  • Dr. Robert Butler retires after 32 years of services for HSI. Dr. Mark Kuppe selected new CEO.
  • Victim Intervention and Recovery began a unique program called Growing Voices, reaching both boys and girls in understanding relationships and the lines between respect and abuse.


  • HSI’s Forest Ridge Apartments in Forest Lake for homeless, substance recovering moms and their children, opened.


  • Merlin, an electronic health records system, developed to help address timely and appropriate access to services for our clients.
  • HSI chosen Provider of the Year from the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).


  • New Generations, a for-profit mental health provider with offices in Minneapolis and West. St. Paul, acquired.


  • Electronic health records implemented.


  • Crisis Connection, a crisis phone service based in Richfield serving all of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, acquired .


  • Name changed to Canvas Health