Cherry Hospital

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Cherry Hospital is a 274-bed inpatient psychiatric hospital located in Goldsboro, North Carolina, USA. It serves the citizens of 33 Eastern North Carolina counties. It is operated by the state of North Carolina and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Cherry Hospital has six treatment units - Adolescent, Adult Acute Admissions, Geriatric Admissions, Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Psychiatric Medical, and Tuberculosis.


In 1877, the North Carolina General Assembly appointed a committee to recommend the selection of a site for a facility for the black mentally ill which would serve the state. On April 11, 1878, 171 acres (69 ha) of land two miles (3 km) west of Goldsboro were purchased. The site was described by Governor Zebulon Baird Vance as ideal for a hospital building because of good elevation in a high state of cultivation and central location for the black population.

On August 1, 1880, the first patient was admitted to the then named "Asylum for Colored Insane". Since that time, there have been several name changes including: The Eastern North Carolina Insane Asylum, Eastern Hospital, and State Hospital at Goldsboro. The name was changed to Cherry Hospital in 1959 in honor of Governor R. Gregg Cherry.

The bed capacity for the hospital when established was seventy-six but over one hundred patients were crowded into the facility by Christmas of 1880. On March 5, 1881, the Eastern North Carolina Insane Asylum was incorporated and a board of nine directors appointed. A separate building was established for treating tubercular patients. In addition, a building for the criminally insane was opened in 1924.

Tranquilizing medications were widely used by 1955 and helped revolutionize patient treatment. As a result of extensive use of psychotropic drugs, the rate of discharges began to increase and the length of hospitalization decreased. The resident population remained stable at 3,000 patients between 1950 and 1965. The highest rate of occupancy was approximately 3,500 patients. During its first 100 years of service, the hospital served 91,000 patients.

For the first eighty-five years of its history, Cherry Hospital served the entire black population for the State of North Carolina. In 1965, the hospital joined other state hospitals in implementing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Cherry began serving patients from the thirty-three counties in the Eastern Region in 1965 by providing services for all races. Black patients at Cherry were transferred to hospitals in their appropriate region while Cherry received white patients from other hospitals in other regions.

Treatment units[edit]

The Adolescent Unit is a specialty unit providing inpatient treatment for mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally disturbed adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. The unit provides diagnostic evaluation that includes psychiatric, medical, nursing, individual and group therapy, family counseling, nutritional services, therapeutic activities, structured group living, vocational evaluation and rehabilitation, and interagency correlation. Adolescents are enrolled in a year-round accredited school program.

The Adult and Acute Admissions Unit is for patients between the ages of 18 and 60. It is designed for patients who are admitted in crisis and with many types of mental illness. It is a short term unit and family and community involvement is encouraged to assist with the transition back to the community.

The Geriatric Admissions Unit provides treatment for patients 60 years and older. While most of the patients in the unit have confusion and/or disorientation associated with dementia, there are others with persistent mental illness. Although patients are usually ambulatory, many suffer from age-related physical illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis or cardiovascular disease. Most require some assistance with their basic needs. The objective of the unit is re-motivation, reorientation, and rehabilitation of patients in an effort to return them to their community and families.

The Psychiatric Rehabilitation Unit provides treatment and rehabilitation services to adults 18 and older with severe and persistent psychiatric illness. Efforts are aimed at reducing symptoms and developing the skills needed to achieve independent functioning. Patients participate in work therapy, therapaws, and in counseling sessions. A wellness clinic is part of the patients' program in order to familiarize them with routine health checks and to encourage follow-up with physicians after discharge.

The Psychiatric Medical Unit is a unit for the treatment of psychiatric patients with physical illness who cannot be managed on a general psychiatric unit due to the nature and severity of the medical illness. Patients are admitted to this unit from other hospital units.

The Tuberculosis Unit is operated in cooperation with the Division of Health Service. Treatment is provided to tubercular patients who are non-compliant with treatment or are treatment resistant. Patients on this unit are not psychiatric patients and are treated for physical illnesses only.

Cherry Hospital Museum[edit]

The Cherry Hospital Museum is located in the Special Services house on the hospital campus in Goldsboro. The museum depicts the history of the psychiatric hospital opened in 1880 for the African American mentally ill. Written documents, photographs, a scrapbook, artifacts, and a PowerPoint presentation are available.

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°23′24″N 78°01′44″W / 35.390°N 78.029°W / 35.390; -78.029