Friends Hospital is the oldest private psychiatric hospital in the nation. The hospital has been providing psychiatric treatment to adolescents, adults, and seniors for nearly 200 years. In 1813, the Quakers founded Friends Hospital based on the belief that all people, even those with a mental illness, can live a “moral, ordered existence if treated with kindness, dignity and respect.” The main focus of “moral treatment” was to strengthen the mental wellness of each patient. Thus, treatment concentrated on strengthening mental health, not on curing mental illness. This was a departure from the accepted view of the time and the guiding principle on which all of the hospital’s procedures were based.
Today, Friends Hospital still operates under this original mission and, using the modern principles of wellness and recovery, strives to provide patients with the tools they need to understand and manage their illness. Starting with a thorough evaluation, a comprehensive treatment plan is developed to help stabilize acute psychiatric symptoms. This plan provides the foundation for an individualized aftercare plan that supports the patient’s return to the community. Helping patients gain and maintain a sense of balance and accomplishment is an important step on the pathway to wellness and recovery.
Still a rural oasis in an urban setting, Friends Hospital continues as a mental health advocate for the community. The original “moral treatment” tenets of non-judgmental acceptance, individual responsibility, state of the art treatment modalities and gentle support remain its guiding principles.