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|Location||Belmont, Massachusetts, United States|
|Lists||Hospitals in Massachusetts|
McLean is noted for its clinical staff expertise and ground-breaking neuroscience research, and is also known for the large number of famous people who have been treated there. McLean maintains the world's largest neuroscientific and psychiatric research program in a private hospital. It is the largest psychiatric facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and owned by Partners HealthCare, which also owns Brigham and Women's Hospital.
McLean was founded in 1811 in a section of Charlestown, Massachusetts that is now a part of Somerville, Massachusetts. Originally named Asylum for the Insane, it was the first institution organized by a group of prominent Bostonians who were concerned about homeless mentally ill persons "abounding on the streets and by-ways in and about Boston". The effort was organized by Rev. John Bartlett, chaplain of the Boston Almshouse. The hospital was built around a Charles Bulfinch mansion, which became the hospital's administrative building; most of the other hospital buildings were completed by 1818.
The institution was later given the name The McLean Asylum for the Insane in honor of one of its earliest benefactors, John McLean, who granted enough money to build several such hospitals. A portrait of McLean now hangs in the present Administration Building, along with other paintings that were once displayed in the original hospital. In 1892, the facility was renamed McLean Hospital in recognition of broader views on the treatment of mental illness.
In 1895 the campus moved to Waverley Oaks Hill in Belmont, Massachusetts. Joseph Curtis (civil engineer) and Frederick Law Olmsted (the renowned landscape architect who also conceptualized the Emerald Necklace public spaces of Boston, New York's Central Park, and Hartford's Institute of Living) were consulted on the selection of the hospital site. The move was necessitated by changes in Charlestown, including new rail lines and other distracting development. Olmsted himself was eventually treated at McLean, but there is no evidence that he was responsible for the design of the grounds. Once hospital construction began, Curtis was hired by the hospital, and supervised the landscape work for many years.
In the 1990s, facing falling revenue in a changing health care industry, the hospital drafted a plan to sell a portion of its grounds for development in the Town of Belmont. The proposed sale of the land caused a divisive and somewhat baroque political debate in the town during the late 1990s. Ultimately a plan to preserve some of Olmsted's original open space and to allow the town to develop mixed residential and commercial real estate prevailed over a plan to create only high-end residential development. The deal was finalized in 2005, and land development was well underway by the end of the year. Most of the Belmont campus (more than 300 acres (120 ha)) had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
McLean is differentiated from its New England peers (such as The Institute of Living and the Brattleboro Retreat) by its combination of teaching, treatment, and research; most other facilities focus on only one of these priorities. It is home to the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, the largest "brain bank" collection of research specimens in the world. The hospital developed and implemented national health screening methods for alcohol, depression, and memory disorders. The Cole Resource Center, a mental health consumer resource and advocacy center, is located at the hospital.
- McLean Hospital is ranked 1st among all psychiatric hospitals in the country according to U.S. News and World Report.
- In 2017, McLean ranked among the top 20 independent hospitals worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health grant support.
Well-known former McLean patients include: mathematician John Nash; musicians James Taylor and Ray Charles; poets Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton; and authors Susanna Kaysen and David Foster Wallace.
In books and media
One popular and anecdotal history of McLean is Alex Beam's Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America's Premier Mental Hospital. More-factual and scholarly accounts of the history are recorded in the Little and Sutton books listed in "Further reading".
Memoirs of time spent within McLean's walls include Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar, and Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted, which was made into a film of the same name starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. Samuel Shem's roman à clef Mount Misery tells a story inspired at least in part by the author's experiences at McLean. The 1994 Under Observation: Life Inside A Mental Hospital by Lisa Berger and Alexander Vuckovic uses some fictional techniques (composite characters, etc.) to describe some of the typical events at McLean. James Taylor's song "Knockin' 'Round the Zoo" recalls his stay at McLean as a teenager. Poems of Boston and Just Beyond: From the Back Bay to the Back Ward by Doug Holder are based on his more than three decades working there, and are archived at the poetry room at the Lamont Library at Harvard University.
- "Olmsted's life, legacy fuel enduring fascination". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012.
- "Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.: Landscape Architect, Author, Conservationist (1822–1903)". Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- "McLean Hospital". Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Parents of Sasha Menu Courey Talk About BPD
- A system that fails troubled teens
- Staff Biography of Dr. Scott L. Rauch - McLean Hospital
- "McLean Hospital". U.S. News & World Report: Best Hospitals Rankings.
- "NIH Awards by Location & Organization". NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). 20 December 2017.
- "Interview with John Nash: My aren". Salon.com.
- "About the Author - Chronology of Plath's Life". The Bell Jar. CliffsNotes. Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
- Sale, Jonathan (May 4, 2006). "Ray Charles played piano all the time". The Independent. Archived from the original on February 21, 2009. Retrieved 2007-02-07.
- Beam, Alex (November 26, 2001). "Shrink Wrapped Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll Were Regular Features of Life at McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Belmont". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- "Ray Charles Plays the "Harvard Club"". Harvard Magazine. January–February 2002. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Michiko Kakutani (August 22, 2012). "David Foster Wallace Biography by D. T. Max". The New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
Mr. Max notes that pieces of “Infinite Jest” date back to 1986, when they may have been written as stand-alone stories, “beginning with the playful, comic voice of his Amherst years, passing through his infatuation with postmodernism at Arizona,” and ending with his backing away from ironic detachment in the wake of a stay at the McLean Hospital psychiatric institute and a halfway house.
- Katie Koch (December 13, 2012). "A too-short life, examined". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
- White, Timothy (2001). James Taylor: James Taylor, His Life and Music. London: Omnibus. p. 16. ISBN 0-7119-8803-X.
- Beam, Alex (2003). Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital. Public Affairs. ISBN 1-58648-161-4.
- Berger, Lisa (1994). Under Observation: Life Inside the McLean Psychiatric Hospital. Tiknor & Fields. ISBN 0-14-025147-2.
- Charles, Ray; Ritz, David (2003). Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story. Da Capo Press. pp. 263–265. ISBN 0-306-81335-1. (on his time spent at McLean Hospital)
- Little, Nina Fletcher (1972). Early years of the McLean Hospital. Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.
- Sutton, Silvia Barry (1986). Crossroads in Psychiatry: A History of the McLean Hospital. American Psychiatric Press. ISBN 0-88048-253-2.
- Weitz, Don; Burstow, Bonnie (1988). Shrink resistant: The Struggle Against Psychiatry in Canada. New Star Books. pp. 286–288. ISBN 0-919573-83-5. (on his time spent at McLean Hospital)