Building on a century of compassionate care, shaping the future of behavioral health.
The history of Carrier Clinic begins with it’s original establishment in 1910 as the Belle Mead Farm Colony and Sanatorium by John Joseph Kindred, M.D. The initial inspiration behind our facility was “to establish and maintain a colony for the care and treatment of sick persons, and particularly for the care and treatment of nervous and mental diseases and also all allied diseases.” Dr. Kindred’s Belle Mead Sanatorium provided humane, personal treatment in a restorative farm setting.
A Brief History of Carrier Clinic
Following the death of Dr. Kindred in the 1920’s, his son, Dr. John Cramer Kindred, managed the Belle Mead Farm Colony and Sanatorium, and married Katherine Carrier.
In 1951, Russell Neff Carrier, M.D., Katherine’s brother, started working at the Sanatorium as Medical Director. In 1956, Dr. Carrier purchased the Sanatorium that then became the Carrier Clinic.
In the 1960’s, the Carrier Clinic was expanded into several patient units. Dr. Carrier continued working on his goal of providing the best care for his patients in a home-like environment.
In 1977, Carrier Clinic became a non-profit organization and was renamed The Carrier Foundation. Specialty units for adolescents and older adults were developed, as were specialty treatment programs for anxiety, mood disorders, and other conditions.
In the 1980’s, Blake Hall was built for the dedicated purpose of treating patients with addiction problems. In addition, the Carrier Day School (now East Mountain School) was established to serve 9th through 12th graders with serious emotional problems. The East Mountain Youth Lodge was created to serve adolescents with psychiatric problems who could not live at home or in the community.
During the 1990’s, the behavioral healthcare field focused on treating patients along a continuum of care from inpatient to outpatient. Carrier Clinic developed several outpatient centers throughout the state of New Jersey.
In the 2000’s, Carrier refocused its priorities on enhancing clinical treatment programs at its Belle Mead, New Jersey campus. The organizational name reverted back to the “Carrier Clinic” as an homage to the goals stated by Dr. Carrier.
A Community Services Program was started in 2000 as an elective at East Mountain School. Students became actively involved in a variety of service activities and trips which were scheduled in the community, such as volunteering for the Red Cross, senior assisted living facilities, soup kitchens, and a daycare center. This program continues to flourish today.
Through partnerships with the community and state, Carrier Clinic continues to share its clinical knowledge and expertise. In 2000, Carrier Clinic entered into a management contract with Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center (RHCMHC) and Psychiatric Emergency Screening Service (PESS), which continued for nine and six years respectively.
Additionally, the NJ Division of Mental Health and Carrier Clinic collaborated on a program (named CTP, or Clinical Transition Program) to treat state hospitalized dual-diagnosis patients at Carrier Clinic. In 2004, the Governor’s Mental Health Task Force cited this as a model program to treat the mentally ill.
In 2002, Carrier Clinic developed East Mountain Hospital, a hospital-within-a-hospital. This 16-bed facility serves patients who have a long history of mental illness and need short-term hospitalization during exacerbation of their illness.
The Caring Solutions Initiative was started in 2004 as an effort to reduce the use of restrictive measures such as seclusion and restraint. The CSI model became an active clinical strategic initiative at Carrier Clinic which focused on a patient satisfaction approach involving patient engagement, mutual respect, and trauma-informed care.
Carrier Clinic announced an affiliation with the Robert Wood Johnson Health Network in October of 2004. The affiliation allows for a collaboration of ideas and medical and psychiatric expertise which promotes enhanced quality service for all patients.
The year 2006 marked the beginning of the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program at Carrier Clinic. Similar to pet therapy, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an experiential opportunity to identify, work with and work through various feelings that can surface while spending time around horses. Sessions are conducted with trained clinical staff and a horse expert, as every individual and group responds differently to the varying levels of feelings and reactions which often occur as metaphors to real life situations.
East Mountain School celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2006. What started as a program with 16 students and 7 staff members in 1981 grew to a school staff of 77, and an enrollment of approximately 120 students.
In 2007, Carrier Clinic opened the Intensive Outpatient Program for Addiction at Belle Mead. In June, a ground-breaking ceremony was conducted for the Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center Expansion & Renovation.
With the help of over 20 community partners, the adolescent unit was renovated in May 2007. In addition to new paint, furnishings and artwork, a library was also added to help bring some “normalizing” activities to those adolescents who are brought to Carrier Clinic in psychiatric crisis.
In November of 2007, Representative Rush Holt held a Roundtable discussion on mental health with local and national mental health advocates at Carrier Clinic. David Wellstone and Rep. Patrick Kennedy were on the call to support passage of an important piece of legislation-the “Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007,” which brought us closer to the Mental Health Parity Act which was enacted in January 2010.
In 2008, Carrier Clinic started the Active Seniors program for active adults aged 60 or older to further specialize the clinical programming of the Older Adult unit. These seniors have the capacity to respond positively to a higher level of education and therapeutic interventions, and can actively participate in the structured treatment program.
The Carrier Diversion Program (CDP) was implemented in August 2008 for Ocean County residents from Kimball Medical Center’s Short-term Care Facility who required continued inpatient involuntary care. Diverted from transferring to Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, patients receive psychiatric treatment including medication, discharge oriented treatment planning and programming designed to promote stability, health, recovery, wellness and a return to the community.
Carrier Clinic held a Groundbreaking Ceremony on September 30, 2009 to celebrate the construction of a 14-acre solar farm on campus. Completed in late December, the solar array provides a clean, safe and sustainable energy source that is expected to supply 50% of Carrier Clinic’s electrical needs. At the time of completion, Carrier Clinic’s ground-mount display was the largest of its size for any healthcare system in New Jersey and is unprecedented for a Behavioral Healthcare System within the United States.
In 2010, the Young Adult program was created to provide addiction and mental health assessment and treatment to young adults aged 18-25 who are in need of a more age-specific program relevant to a young adult population.
On June 16, 2010, Carrier Clinic celebrated its 100th anniversary.
In Fall of 2010, Carrier Clinic’s East Mountain Youth Lodge opened the Sunflower Lodge, a 5-bed Psychiatric Community Home (PCH) for females. The Psychiatric Community Home is modeled after a group home environment, with residents living in an actual home on Carrier Clinic’s campus, instead of in the main lodge residence which is connected to the hospital.
In June of 2013, Carrier Clinic built an additional 5-bed PCH on campus called the Lotus Lodge.
On December 10, 2013, Carrier Clinic’s Board of Trustees adopted the facility’s Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Strategy, in response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The Community Health Needs Assessment includes Carrier Clinic’s definition of community, identified needs as a result from collaborative primary and secondary data collection with key members and organizations within the defined community, prioritized needs to address, and potential measures and resources to address those needs.
The corresponding Implementation Strategy recaps identified and prioritized needs and presents the facility’s plan to address the needs identified in the Community Health Needs Assessment.
On May 21, 2014, Carrier Clinic celebrated the beginning of its $21 Million building and renovation project with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by over 200 community leaders, partners, and employees.
In June 2014, Carrier Clinic was again awarded a contract for a Carrier Diversion Program (CDP) for the Southern region, primarily Ocean County residents. This program diverts patients from state psychiatric hospitals to Carrier Clinic, where they receive psychiatric treatment, medication and programming designed to promote stability, health, recovery, wellness and a return to the community.
On April 16, 2015, the first phase of Carrier Clinic’s $21 Million building project is completed, and patients at Blake Recovery Center move into the new addition as work begins to renovate the remaining Blake facility.
Carrier Clinic Now – Our Facility
The Carrier Clinic is nestled in a beautiful, tranquil rural setting on 100+ farm-like acres in convenient Belle Mead, New Jersey, which is centrally located and easily accessible by car.
On our sprawling campus-style country grounds live an array of wildlife, from peacocks and chickens to horses and fish in our pond, that provide a sense of peace as well as therapeutic healing.
Adolescents in our residence and school also have the monitored use of an outside swimming pool, tennis courts, and sitting/picnic areas.
In addition, Carrier Clinic has dedicated 14 acres of our private land for a solar photovoltaic array (solar panels), the largest ground-mount system on a New Jersey hospital campus at the time of installation. These solar panels are designed to produce energy for us while demonstrating our ongoing commitment to partnering with our community, and keeping our air clean.
Inside our doors, we offer a wide assortment of amenities and programs to accommodate our patient’s diverse needs, and provide the most comfortable, stimulating and healing environment possible.
Our facility features an inpatient hospital and on-site residences, two gymnasiums, a modern cafeteria, amphitheater, multi-sensory room, library and chapel, with special areas for our art, music, dog therapy and other programs.