Hanwell Mental Institute


For decades, the Hanwell Mental Institute has been housing patients of many ages with diverse degrees of mental illness. We are proud to admit feeble-minded men and women who are not fit for society under excellent conditions and nursing. Our recovery rate is very high thanks to advanced treatments and our novel techniques of group therapy, pioneered by the universally acclaimed psychologist Dr. Ann Ebersbacher. Even patients with extreme mental disorders have shown positive progress under our attention and are now able to enjoy a full life inside the walls of the institute. Many others have returned to their families, ready to face new challenges and experiences in their improved conditions.

Our founder, Walter Hanwell

Our remarkable knowledge in the field of mental health care was left to us by Dr. Walter Hanwell, who as a young and promising general surgeon founded the institute to pursue his goal of understanding the intricacies of insanity. Dr. Hanwell actively encouraged colleagues and contemporaries in the research and study of mental pathologies during his lifetime, granting him the status of "benefactor of the insane". His strong legacy lives to this day in the subjects of psychology and medicine.

The four storey building that was constructed on top of a cliff, amidst a leafy and calm forest, is prepared to house over 300 patients. We ensure a clean environment, magnificent facilities and effective personnel to attend all their needs. The Hanwell Mental Institute has always abided to the Kirkbride Plan with two long wings extending to West and East for male and female patients respectively. The construction and its particular location ensures maximum safety: access is restricted and any inmate attempting to leave would have to descend a rocky and winding path down to the base of a high mountain, thwarting any attempts to escape the institute.

Each day patients can spend time in the vast courtyard, library or game room and take part in other leisure activities. The most apt inmates are periodically selected to help in daily duties such as laundry, cooking, administrative tasks and such. Groups are assembled and assigned to a therapist according to the capabilities of their members, which then engage in diverse approaches to therapy which can include standard rehabilitation, hydrotherapy, group therapy and, for the more difficult cases, other strict methods.

The Hanwell Mental Institute also has advanced laboratories for research purposes. It is widely acknowledged that Dr. Hanwell was the architect of novel medical treatments. He rejected all kinds of mechanical appliances, which were common in his time, in favor of psychology and drugs that have become staples in the field.



Original plans showing the first floor of the institute

We trust that you will put your friends and family in need of help into our caring hands. For admissions, please write to [email protected]

Dr. Ambrose H. Miller
Head Director
[email protected]