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History of a Unique Hospital

In 1931, Dr. John Millet founded Silver Hill Hospital in a hillside farmhouse on the slopes of the Silvermine River Valley of New Canaan, CT. From this modest beginning, the hospital has grown to include 14 buildings, spread over 42 acres. It has become nationally renowned for its effectiveness in treating mental illnesses and addictions. Despite this growth the original farmhouse, now known as the Patricia Regnemer Main House, has always been the centerpiece of the Silver Hill Hospital campus. It retains much of the grace and charm it had at the time of Silver Hill Hospital’s founding.
 

The treatment of mental illness has changed in ways unimaginable in 1931, yet Millet’s vision remains just as vital and relevant. Patients and their loved ones can be treated with dignity and respect. They can be active participants in their own treatments and agents of their own recovery. They can be afforded both the best standard treatments of the day and the most innovative, new treatments. They should be able to remain at Silver Hill Hospital until they are ready to resume their normal lives. All of this takes place in a bucolic, calm, and dignified setting that, in itself, fosters the process of recovery.
 

Today, great leaps forward in the understanding of disorders of the brain - mental disorders and addictive disorders - have revolutionized treatments. New pharmacologic treatments, a modality only 50 years old, are advancing almost weekly. Recently developed, powerful and effective new techniques of individual psychotherapy and group psychotherapy are becoming mainstays of treatment. Many of these new treatments have allowed us to shorten the length of hospitalizations in acute-care, inpatient psychiatry units. Yet, recovery from mental illness takes time. Very often, when a patient can safely be discharged from an inpatient unit, he or she is far from ready to resume a normal life. That is why Silver Hill Hospital has retained and continually improved our Transitional Living Programs (TLP). These on-site, extended stay programs, where the patient continues to live on the Silver Hill campus, can serve as an important component of a comprehensive treatment plan often beginning with crisis management and stabilization in our inpatient units and continuing with an extended treatment program of rehabilitation and recovery.
 

Our Transitional Living Programs allow patients who have achieved stabilization to continue their treatment in a more home-like setting while continuing to participate in a highly structured, intensive program with full-time psychiatric, nursing and social work staff. Its five tracks include Addiction Disorders, Co-Occurring Disorders, a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) track for severe personality disorders, an extended stay program for Persistent Psychiatric Disorders, and an Adolescent program. Since the program components are “modular” there is the flexibility to combine the components of several different tracks to make optimal, individual treatment plans.
 

The focus and challenge for Silver Hill Hospital has been to remain in the vanguard of new developments in psychiatry while embracing the belief that the environment of treatment is as important as the techniques of treatment.
 

Our success lies in delivering tomorrow’s treatments within a compassionate, dignified, and calming environment. Our ability to achieve this over many decades is, more than anything, what distinguishes us from almost all other psychiatric facilities and, indeed, is what makes Silver Hill a great hospital.
 

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