Institute Of Mental Health
The Institute of Mental Health (abbreviated as IMH) is a psychiatric hospital in Hougang, Singapore. It was formerly known as Woodbridge Hospital. It is situated on a 25-hectare site in the Buangkok Green Medical Park in Singapore’s northeast.
Children, teens, adults, and the elderly may get psychiatric, rehabilitative, and counseling treatments at IMH, Singapore’s sole tertiary mental hospital. It is a contemporary hospital with 50 inpatient wards and 2010 beds, as well as seven outpatient specialized clinics. IMH offers hospital-based treatments, operates satellite clinics around Singapore, and leads community-based mental health initiatives.
In 1841, a 30-bed structure on the junction of Bras Basah Road and Bencoolen Street became the first mental clinic. The Insane Hospital was the name at the time. In 1861, it was renamed the Lunatic Asylum and relocated near the former Kandang Kerbau Maternity Hospital. To combat a cholera epidemic, this institution was relocated in 1887 to the New Lunatic Asylum, which had a capacity of 300 patients and was established on College Road (Sepoy Lines). Along Yio Chu Kang Road, a 24-ward Mental Hospital was established in 1928. The Sepoy Lines New Lunatic Asylum and the Pasir Panjang ward were closed, and 1,030 inmates were relocated to The Mental Hospital.
With a capacity of 1,400 patients and an area of 80 hectares, The Mental Hospital was the biggest medical institution in Singapore at the time, offering custodial treatment for the mentally ill. In the 1920s, the majority of mental health care was institutionalized. Patients were isolated from the rest of the population and cared for by a small group of expatriate nurses with the assistance of non-nursing health attendants.
After the Japanese took control of Singapore in 1942, roughly 700–800 badly injured civilians were transported from the General Hospital to the Mental Hospital, which was later renamed the Japanese Civilian and Military Hospital. About 500 ‘quieter’ mental patients were sent to St John’s Island, where many died of starvation. The remaining 1,000 were imprisoned and ignored, with around 600 being transported to the Central Mental Hospital in Tanjung Rambutan, Perak, Malaysia, in 1944. Only 329 of the 600 men survived the conflict.
Following the conclusion of World War II, the British Royal Air Force requisitioned the hospital from the neighboring Seletar Airfield for use in treating the ill and wounded Allied personnel and Japanese POWs for a short time from 1945 to 1947. As a result, the female part became the RAF Hospital, while the male section became the Japanese Prisoners of War Hospital. This hospital was the first Royal Air Force hospital created following the Japanese surrender, and it was known as the 81 Mobile Field Hospital until it was returned to regular civilian use in 1947.
The Mental Hospital was restored to its former role in 1946, accommodating 440 mentally ill patients. The facility was renamed Woodbridge Hospital in 1951 to remove some of the stigma associated with mental illness (WH). Because there was a wooden bridge in the hospital area in Yio Chu Kang, this name was taken from the native Chinese name for the hospital area, ‘Pang Kio’ (‘Wooden Bridge’).
Woodbridge Hospital had a capacity of 2,000 patients by 1958. In 1954, the Psychiatric School of Nursing was founded. A social work department was established in 1955, along with an upgraded occupational therapy program. In 1956, V.W. Wilson, Singapore’s first clinically trained psychologist, was hired by the Colonial Medical Service from the United Kingdom to integrate a psychological service into the mental health program.
In 1970, a Child Guidance Clinic was established. The Kid Psychiatric Clinic arose out of this, and family therapy was soon utilized to treat the whole family, not just the child.
In 1988, Community Psychiatric Nursing was established, and psychiatric nurses visited patients in their homes to give treatment, support, and follow-up.
Psychiatry trainees were sent to the United Kingdom to study for the MRCPsych (Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists) accreditation until 1981. Since 1983, WH has been training its psychiatrists in collaboration with the National University of Singapore Graduate School of Medical Studies. In 1985, the first Master of Medicine student in Psychiatry who was educated locally graduated.
The Ministry of Health proposed a new mental hospital in 1984 to transition from a predominantly custodial care paradigm to one of community care for the people’s welfare. Clients with mental illnesses would be actively treated and rehabilitated in the community, rather than in institutions, where they would be isolated from ordinary life and find it much more difficult to reintegrate.
Plans were put in place for a new hospital that would revolutionize mental healthcare in Singapore by focusing more on training and launching new initiatives in mental health promotion and clinical research.
In 1993, WH relocated to its current 25-hectare site in Hougang. WH was reorganized and renamed the Institute of Mental Health Hospital as a result of the shift to reflect its increased emphasis on research and training.
Due to its history as Singapore’s first mental hospital, the National Heritage Board designated the Institute of Mental Health property as Singapore’s 83rd historic monument in 2006.
In 2005, the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) became the first mental health facility in Asia to earn Joint Commission Worldwide Certification, a prestigious international healthcare accreditation. In addition to providing clinical services, IMH supervises and monitors psychiatric education for physicians, nurses, and allied health workers, as well as conducting mental health research.
It also plays a significant role in building capacity in community organizations, such as family assistance centers, so that their employees can give help to community members with mental health issues.
To make its psychiatric services more accessible to patients, IMH operates outpatient clinics in a variety of locations.
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