Butler Hospital

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Butler Hospital
Established 1844
Opened 1846
Current Status Active
Building Style Pre-1854 Plans
Architect(s) William Tallman & James Bucklin
Location Providence, RI
Architecture Style Gothic Revival
Alternate Names
  • Butler Hospital for the Insane
  • Butler Health Center


Butler Hospital is Rhode Island's only adult, adolescent and child psychiatric and substance abuse facility, and a national leader in developing short-term acute care programs. The hospital works with managed-care organizations, health insurance companies and employers to provide services that not only maintain quality but are compatible with the goals and objectives of the organizations. Its average length-of-stay in the inpatient program -- eight days -- is 50 percent lower than the national average.

The hospital remains on the cutting edge of new medical advances, despite its long history in the state. Butler opened its doors in 1847, making it the oldest hospital in the state and one of the oldest psychiatric facilities in the country. Its present day campus was purchased with the support of one of the country's earliest human rights activists -- Dorothea Dix. Local citizens donated as little as a dollar each to see the hospital construction through to completion.

The stage for the next 150 years was set by Dr. Isaac Ray, Butler's first superintendent, who was a national champion for the legal rights and humane treatment for the mentally ill. Today, Butler Hospital continues to adhere to those beliefs in treating patients with dignity and respect.

While it is proud of its history, the hospital's staff works hard to stay at the forefront of new developments in psychiatry. The hospital opened one of the first outpatient programs (in the late 1950s), developed the first partial hospital treatment program in the country to be funded by Blue Cross (in the early 1970s), created short-term managed care treatment programs (in the late 1980s), and has worked with local community support groups to fight stigma and improve service delivery. Both staff and administrators are especially proud of two programs -- the Women's Treatment Program and the Child and Adolescent Program -- that were started at the start of the 1900s.

During the past decade, the medical and mental health needs of women have received widespread attention. No longer are women's medical problems considered isolated or rare. Butler's trend-setting women's program offers specialized services for eating disorders, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), sexual or physical abuse, separation and divorce, and postpartum depression. The program has a team of professionals who are especially equipped to deal women and families deal with these problems.

The Child and Adolescent Program operates on the philosophy that early identification and understanding of such problems, with the support of the family, can make all the difference in successful treatment and recovery. Major services include psychiatric and medication evaluations, therapy, nursing and education assessments, and psychological testing. Child services are provided in a unit separate from the rest of the hospital in an area that is private and pleasant.

In addition, the hospital operates one of the oldest and most comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment programs in the region. Started in 1975, the program evaluates and treats people who are addicted to alcohol, cocaine, heroin and other drugs and who are experiencing other problems as a result of their addiction. It also has an extensive Senior Specialty Program for treating problems -- such as the death of a spouse or diminished physical vitality -- of people over the age of 65.

In addition, Butler Hospital serves as the seat for the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior in the School of Medicine at Brown University. The hospital's operating philosophy is manifold: history and tradition, combined with cutting-edge knowledge of medical advances.


Main Image Gallery: Butler Hospital