About This Department

For 80 years we've provided the highest quality care to adults, children and adolescents. We also conduct pioneering research, educate professionals in the field and serve our community.

Our Story

The story of the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry is the story of the best of modern psychiatry.

The department includes more than 60 specialty clinical and research programs that address virtually every aspect of psychiatric disorders - the brain diseases also known as mental illness - including depression, schizophrenia, and a host of other disorders such as anxiety, panic, attention deficit, bipolar, obsessive compulsive, and post-traumatic stress. All are complex, painful, often debilitating conditions that alter the perceptions, feelings and behaviors of those who suffer from them.

“Psychiatry is a field of brain study and repair,” notes Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, MD, the department’s seventh and current chief of Psychiatry. “In decades past, the mind and body, or should I say mind and brain, were seen as different and distinct. Modern psychiatry sees them as one. Our organ of interest in psychiatry is the brain, and what a marvelously and infinitely complex one it is.”

The Department of Psychiatry serves patients, families and the community by vigorously pursuing a four-part mission:

Caring for Patients

Mass General Psychiatry's 80th Anniversary

The Department of Psychiatry offers an exceptional depth and breadth of patient services including: emergency and urgent care, general and specialty outpatient care for adults, children and adolescents, a 24-bed inpatient unit, psychological and educational assessment services, dedicated psychiatry services for both medical and surgical inpatients and outpatients, an addictions program, a neurotherapeutics service, and forensic psychiatry services. 

The department’s more than 600 affiliated psychiatrists and psychologists are uniquely trained as clinicians, researchers and teachers, and include some of the field’s most accomplished and recognized specialists, particularly in psychopharmacology, cognitive-behavioral therapy and behavioral medicine. They are able to achieve extraordinary treatment results because of the research that underlies their expert care, and the patient concerns that drive the research questions they study. Due to its exceptional results in patient care, the Mass General Department of Psychiatry has consistently earned top rankings in psychiatry in the annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1996, and the most recent 2016-2017 rankings named Mass General the top hospital for psychiatry in the nation.

Conducting Pioneering Research

The integration of patient care and clinical research has been a hallmark of the Department of Psychiatry for more than 30 years. The department’s clinical research programs began with small scale studies by psychiatrists and psychologists seeking to provide new treatment options for their patients.

Today, the department has the largest clinical research program in the hospital, with studies at the forefront of neuroscience, molecular biology, and genetics. Thanks to tools such as neuroimaging, genetics and genomics, Department of Psychiatry researchers are beginning to map the pathways through which brain biology interacts with life circumstances and events to produce psychiatric illnesses. This research is making it possible to pinpoint affected areas of the brain, understand inherited risk factors and the role of environmental stress, develop more effective psychotherapies, medications, and neurotherapeutic treatments, and ultimately to prevent these illnesses from occurring by intervening early.

Educating Professionals

About us
Dr. Jonathan E. Alpert, Clinical Director of the department, at a recent Grand Rounds presentation.

To address the serious shortage and availability of expert psychiatric care, each year the Department of Psychiatry trains 100 adult and child psychiatry residents, psychology interns, and clinical fellows to become leaders in their areas of specialty. Another 40,000 psychiatrists, non-psychiatric physicians and other health professionals are reached through the Mass General Psychiatry Academy, a comprehensive program of web-based seminars, satellite symposia, teleconferences and live symposia. In addition, the department educates professionals in education, law, the military and the clergy who carry their enhanced understanding of the discipline of psychiatry out into their work with affected individuals and their families.

Serving the Community

To address the mental health needs of people in Mass General’s neighborhoods who suffer from severe and persistent mental illness, substance use disorders, poverty, immigration challenges, homelessness and multiple traumas, the Department of Psychiatry partners with local organizations through its Division of Public and Community Psychiatry. The department also offers free patient and family education programs in Boston through its Psychiatry Academy. To serve the hospital’s global neighbors, the department was the first hospital department in the United States to establish a division of global psychiatry. The Chester M. Pierce Global Psychiatry Division addresses the acute shortage of mental health professionals in developing countries through training and service opportunities.

 

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