About Us

We're Unique

We are family founded, family led, and family remains at the core of who we are. At Karla Smith Behavioral Health, we understand that mental illness within a family can often result in compromised family relationships, frustration, confusion and fear. As well as treating the person with a mental health condition, our programs are centered around rebuilding and strengthening family relationships. When we include those who support us in the healing process, our long term outlooks improve significantly.  We have the data to prove it.

It is our passion to help families navigate and learn the process of supporting a person with mental health conditions, and to help those who live with mental illnesses find stability, purpose and true joy in life. We are fueled by the hope we experience each day when one of our members succeeds in the smallest or biggest of ways. There is hope. It is not a wish.  Hope is real. Our clients are the proof.

OUR MISSION is to empower individuals & families to overcome mental & behavioral health challenges through an integrated therapeutic model supporting the clinical, emotional, educational, & spiritual journey into life-long recovery & independent living. 

Karla Smith

Our Roots

Karla Smith Foundation, now Karla Smith Behavioral Health, was founded in 2005 in memory of Karla Smith, daughter of Tom and Fran Smith, and twin sister of Kevin Smith. At age 19, in the second semester of her sophomore year in college, Karla fell into her first major depression. Two years later, she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The Smith Family struggled to learn about the illness and to cope with it. After seven years of ups and downs, periods of stability, and periods of instability, Karla ended her physical life on earth. Karla died by suicide on January 13, 2003 at the age of 26.

Founded only two years following Karla’s death, Karla Smith Behavioral Health has been helping persons with mental health conditions and their families, find and embrace a path into recovery. It is through Karla’s openness about her mental illness and the Smith’s openness about sharing her story that Karla Smith Behavioral Health connects with so many others facing the challenges of mental illness. Karla’s spirit remains the soul of KSBH. In her memory, the Foundation continues to offer supportive services for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, and continues to provide community education for suicide prevention. We do believe that the best prevention of suicide is skilled and compassionate treatment; today’s mission reflects that intention.  

Meet Our Leadership Team

Emily Smith

Executive Director
I know what it’s like to live with a mental health condition and to support family members who struggle with them. I empathize with your frustration, confusion and fear. I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a phone call from a loved one that terrifies you, to wander aimlessly through a hospital wondering if anyone will ever be able to help, and to make call after call searching for answers. I relate to the fear and anxiety about getting the help you need.

The good news - You can breathe easy now. We at KSBH are here to help you take that next step. Whatever concerns you have, we will listen. Whatever fears are stopping you, we’ll walk you through them. Whatever resources you need, we will find them, connect you and support you for as long as you need us.

You are not alone. No matter what your circumstance, I am making a personal promise to you that we will help. Let us help you discover a path of promise and hope.

Your journey STARTS HERE. Give us a call. The KSBH Team cannot wait to meet you.

Katie Rybak, MD

Medical Director
Meet our Medical Director, Dr. Katie Rybak. Dr. Rybak is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She completed her undergraduate education at the Southern Illinois School of Medicine and her post graduate education at Loyola University. During her Internal Medicine Residency, Dr. Rybak worked at the Hines VA in Chicago where she frequently treated patients in need of psychiatric and/or substance use services. As a hospitalist and Emergency Room physician, Dr. Rybak has become skilled at responding to and treating patients with acute symptoms of overdose, withdrawal, suicidal ideation, and other acute mental health conditions. Dr. Rybak also has Medical Director experience, having managed two skilled nursing facilities where she oversaw the care of over 200 patients. In this role, Dr. Rybak facilitated psychiatric services for patients experiencing bipolar and/or substance use disorders among other mental health conditions. Dr. Rybak advises and oversees the clinical processes at KSBH.

Meet Our Therapy Team

Board of

  • Mark Witkowski, President
  • Kevin Smith, Vice President
  • Tom Smith
  • Mike Clark
  • Janet Frasher
  • Laura Adkins
  • Bruce Holland
  • Denise Schilling
  • Dalena Pajares
  • Amy Katsikas


Karla Smith Behavioral Health is a not-for-profit organization that depends on the generosity of our financial supporters to help serve our clients. As a result of the support KSBH receives from our community, we are grateful that every KSBH client receives the benefit of reduced service fees.  Our clients pay approximately 30% less than the standard fees charged by similar providers. Additionally, KSBH offers a sliding scale to provide further financial assistance to those who qualify.  

Please contact KSBH directly at 618-624-5771 to discuss fees and financial assistance opportunities.

Thank you to our Sponsors and Friends who continue to make KSBH an affordable option for the exceptional care we are committed to providing each KSBH family we serve.