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Athens Mental Health Center


Use this guide to help you research the Athens Mental Health Center, locate patient records, and explore the history of mental health and treatment. Also includes information about disability history and mad liberation.

About the Athens Mental Health Center

The Athens Asylum, operating from 1874- 1993, located at The Ridges, was an institution used to house the mentally ill and disabled community of Southeast Ohio. It was built in the style of Kirkbride and was self-sustaining, with a farm and dairy. It has been known by many names: 

  1. Athens Lunatic Asylum (1868-1875)
  2. South-Eastern Ohio Hospital for the Insane (1875)
  3. Athens Hospital for the Insane (1876-1878)
  4. Athens Asylum for the Insane (1878-1894)
  5. Athens State Hospital (1894-1968)
  6. Southeastern Ohio Mental Health Center (1968-1969)
  7. Athens Mental Health Center (1969-1975)
  8. Athens Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center (1975-1979)
  9. Athens Mental Health and Developmental Center (1979-1981)
  10. Athens Mental Health Center (1981-1993)

This institution was built using the Kirkbride method, named after Thomas Story Kirkbride a psychologist who believed in building an asylum not like a prison, but open, like a Victorian home. Over the years, as mental health treatment changed, so did the treatment used at the Mental Health Center. This treatment included physical work and exercise, group therapy, hydrotherapy, electroshock therapy, and the lobotomy.

Click here for a timeline of the history of the Ridges.

Subjects: Psychology