History and Current Philosophy

Ridgeview’s earliest beginnings date back to 1954 when at the suggestion of the Oak Ridge schools’ Pupil Personnel Department, under the leadership of Ms. Sarah Ketron, a group of Oak Ridge and Anderson County citizens met to consider forming a mental health center to meet the mental health needs of children and others in the community.

This interest coincided with state legislation to appropriate money for communities that would take the initiative to establish mental health clinics. Oak Ridge was among the first communities in Tennessee to form a local mental health association, seek a location, recruit staff, and bid for the state, city and county funds.

Thus, in 1957 the Mental Health Center of Anderson and Roane Counties, Inc., opened its doors at 84 New York Avenue, in Oak Ridge and rent at the facility was $10 per month. Dr. Kenneth Crounse was hired as the first psychiatrist/clinic director and began an aggressive recruitment effort to find two clinicians to join the center staff.

In 1968, under the direction of the board of directors and then executive director, John F. Byrne, Ph.D., a federal construction was applied for and awarded to begin construction at our current main site in Oak Ridge located at 240 W. Tyrone Road. In October of 1969, the facility became fully operational as an outpatient clinic, a 22-bed inpatient hospital for adults, and space for administrative offices.

The mental health center was renamed the Regional Mental Health Center of Oak Ridge in 1970 when the center began to expand its outreach programs by establishing satellite clinics in Campbell, Scott Roane, and Morgan counties. In 1976, the center added 22 adolescent beds to the hospital bringing the total capacity of beds to 44. In 1983, in order to recognize the expansion of inpatient services, the center’s name was changed to Ridgeview Psychiatric Hospital & Center, Inc.

Since that time, due to improvements in the newer generation of psychotropic medicines and associated reductions in lengths of stay, and changes in federal Medicaid inpatient requirements, Ridgeview reduced its licensed bed capacity to16 beds. In addition to the hospital, all administrative offices and several outpatient clinical programs remain housed at the 240 W. Tyrone Road site.

Ridgeview currently offers an array of comprehensive behavioral health services at numerous sites, located throughout the five-county area. Last year Ridgeview served over 7,500 individuals and these 7,500 individuals represented slightly over 100,000 encounters.

Our philosophy is simple in that we believe that recovery is very real and possible and that individuals seeking services are essential partners in the recovery process. Additionally, Ridgeview believes in the concept of integrating behavioral health with physical health care and has several processes in place to enhance this important concept. Lastly, Ridgeview believes that safe and affordable housing is an essential component of the recovery process and as a result owns, operates and manages an extensive housing continuum.

Ridgeview offers convenient hours to access services, with staff on-call 24-hours a day/7 days a week for emergencies. The center accepts most third-party payers and TennCare plans and offers flexible payment schedules based ability to pay. No one is denied services due to inability to pay.