Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital
|Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital|
|Building Style||Single Building|
|Architect(s)||Charles B. Meyers|
|Location||Manhattan, NYC, NY|
|Architecture Style||Italian Renaissance|
Bellevue opened its first “pavilion for the insane” in 1879 and its first alcoholic ward in 1892. These were part of the main hospital building. Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital was built in 1931 in the Italian Renaissance style (the term “Bellevue” would soon become slang for any mental health facility). This was a separate building from the general hospital at Bellvue. Over the years, it became a dumping ground by the police for many of the city’s so-called criminally insane (Mark David Chapman spent some time here – other well known patients include Edie Sedgwick and Norman Mailer). It also served as a revolving door for homeless patients, and by 1983, nearly all new admissions were re-admissions.
The city began phasing it out as a psychiatric center in 1984, and in 1998, it had been fully transformed into a homeless intake shelter. It almost became a luxury hotel in 2010, until plans fell through.
Currently Bellevue Hospital adult inpatient psychiatric services are comprised of 220 beds distributed among seven general units for patients ages 18 and older. A full range of in-patient psychiatric treatment is provided, including particular attention to those with psychotic, affective, and other major psychiatric illness, often with co-occurring substance abuse. One of the units is devoted to the treatment of Latino patients, one to Chinese-speaking patients, and one to patients with both major psychiatric and substance abuse illness.
The following documentary was shot over the course of twelve months within Bellevue. It gives an unprecedented access to the emergency department and numerous cases which come through it.