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Terrell State Hospital Celebrates 125 Years

Media Advisory
July 12, 2010

WHAT: Terrell State Hospital will host a 125th anniversary event to celebrate decades of providing Texans with psychiatric care.
WHEN:  2 p.m. Wednesday, July 14, 2010
WHERE: Terrell State Hospital, 1200 East Brin, Terrell
WHO: Speakers include:
Dr. David Lakey, commissioner, Department of State Health Services
U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Dallas
State Sen. Bob Deuell, Greenville
State Rep. Betty Brown, Athens

Terrell State Hospital admitted its first patient July 14, 1885. Initially called the North Texas Lunatic Asylum, TSH’s mission was to provide long-term treatment and care for “chronic incurable insane” residents of the northern part of the state. Its park-like setting on more than 670 acres reflected the original definition of the word asylum, a place of refuge and retreat that was often the only service a 19th century mental health facility could provide.

In its first year of operation, TSH admitted 330 patients from 46 counties. The campus and population grew steadily, and by 1920 it was the largest hospital of its kind west of the Mississippi River. Renamed the North Texas Hospital for the Insane in 1888, it finally came to be known as Terrell State Hospital in 1925.

TSH continued growing through 1948, when its average population reached more than 2,800. As the nature of psychiatric care changed through the latter half of the 20th century, so did TSH’s role. Advances in psychiatry and medications meant that more patients were able to stay at home and receive treatment in their own communities. Now, mental health hospitals generally provide short- to medium-term treatment. The current average stay at TSH is about one month.

Over the last 125 years, TSH has become a vital part of the Kaufman County community and has impacted the lives of thousands of Texans who have passed through its grounds as employees, patients and volunteers. More than 100,000 patients have spent time at TSH since 1885, nearly half of them staying at the hospital more than once. TSH has also employed more than 10,000 people since it opened and remains the largest employer in Terrell.

VISUALS: The hospital’s heritage museum will be open for tours. Items from a time capsule buried at the TSH 100th anniversary in 1985 will be on display. Volunteers will be selling cookbooks, T-shirts and copies of a history of the hospital written by employee Benny Britton.
Media Advisory


(News Media Contact: Chris Van Deusen, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7753)

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Last updated December 27, 2013