Stockbridge psychiatric hospital celebrates 100 years on Main Street

(Hannah Shirley) From left, Eric Plakun, Jane Tillman, Nancy Fitzpatrick and Sen. Adam Hinds cut the ribbon of the Austen Riggs Center’s new exhibition, “The Hospital on Main Street: Human Dignity and Mental Health,” located at the Old Corner House at 48 Main Street, Stockbridge.

STOCKBRIDGE — Since the Austen Riggs Center was founded 100 years ago, there’s one thing that’s always set it apart from other psychiatric hospitals: its presence downtown.

“We’re right on Main Street,” said psychologist Jane Tillman, director of the Erikson Institute at the Austen Riggs Center. “It’s so helpful to our patients. There are no locks, no restraints, no seclusion, no privilege system. We want our patients to be citizens in the local community as they’re able to and feel ready.”

Despite the center’s active role in the Stockbridge community, there’s still stigma surrounding mental healthcare in the U.S., said Tillman. That’s part of what the center hopes to combat with its new exhibition, “The Hospital on Main Street: Human Dignity and Mental Health,” which opened to the public on Memorial Day, just in time for the end of Mental Health Awareness Month.

The exhibition, open Thursday through Monday or by appointment at the Old Corner House located at 48 Main St., delves into the way the Austen Riggs Center has evolved in the last 100 years and the way the mental healthcare field has evolved around it.

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