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May 16, 2022

In 1822, the Hartford Retreat for the Insane was chartered as one of the first mental health centers in the United States, and the first hospital of any kind in CT. In 2022, the CHS is exploring of the story of mental health in our state. Recently, the CHS invited Dr. Harold I (Hank) Schwartz to talk about the history of the Hartford Retreat, renamed the Institute of Living in the 20th century.  His presentation took us through the state of mental health care in the early 1800s, the reasons for the founding of the Retreat, and its place in the development of modern psychiatry.
Dr. Schwartz, is the Psychiatrist-in-Chief Emeritus at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital and formerly served as Vice President, Behavioral Health at Hartford Healthcare. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine. His talk is presented here for you with minimal edits.
To learn more about the Connecticut Historical Society’s exhibition Common Struggle, Individual Experience: An Exhibition About Mental Health, go to You can view a 3D, virtual tour of the exhibition here
"Hartford Retreat for the Insane," postcard, CHS collection 1984.13.109
Produced by Natalie Belanger. Mixed by Patrick O'Sullivan. 
See more: "The Institute of Living," Feb/Mar/Apr 2004, CT Explored.