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Featured Article Of The Week

Massachusetts Mental Health Center


In November 1909 the site for the hospital was purchased on Fenwood Road, 5 minutes' walk from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Elmer E. Southard was appointed director of the hospital early in 1910, to supervise its construction. On June 24, 1912 the Psychiatric Hospital was formally opened as a department of Boston State Hospital.

On May 1, 1919 the Massachusetts State Psychiatric Institute was separated from the Psychopathic Department of the Boston State Hospital, which relieved the psychopathic department of scientific research, leaving it with purely hospital functions. On December 1, 1920 the psychopathic department was made into a separate Boston Psychopathic Hospital, under director Dr. C. Macfie Campbell. It was later renamed the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

It was initially created to provide for the reception, diagnosis, and disposition of acute psychiatric patients in Boston, usually admitting patients for short periods only. After diagnosis patients were transferred to state hospitals or discharged for outpatient care. As the institution developed a reputation for acive teaching and research in psychiatry, cases from other state hospitals were transferred to it for observation or special treatment. After the first few years outpatient care was offered not only to discharged patients, but to the general public, with emergency and diagnostic services and special units for children and adolescents. The outpatient department of BPH was renamed the Southard Clinic in the mid-1940's in honor of the first superintendent. Click here for more...