Prior to 1946, the treatment of psychiatric disorders at the MGH fell under the umbrella of the Department of Neurology, though most individuals were institutionalized separately in facilities such as the Saint-Jean de Dieu Hospital, and the Verdun Protestant Hospital for the Insane (now the Douglas Institute for Mental Health).
Modern psychiatric treatment was established at the MGH in the direct aftermath of WWII, which had highlighted the prevalence of psychiatric issues among the general population. In 1946, Albert E. Moll, the MGH’s first Psychiatrist-in-Chief, began outpatient consultations at the Western and Central divisions of the MGH. Under Moll, the department was at the forefront of community-based mental health care, which became the primary axis of care for psychiatric patients after the deinstitutionalization movement of the 1960s.
Today, the Mental Health Mission is a wide-ranging, multifaceted service that reflects current-day understandings of the mental health spectrum and its complexities. Building on a legacy of teamwork, the Mission combines the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, working with doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, and other allied health professionals. It provides in- and out-patient services, specialized emergency and acute care, and liaison consultation to a wide variety of hospital services and departments.
The Mental Health Mission in numbers: