History of the department

History of care for mentally ill in Brno

The history of treating mentally ill in Brno stretches as far as to the 15th century, when mentally ill were treated together with other patients in the towns hospitals. The oldest extant entries about admissions of mentally ill to the hospital come from 1748, though. A separate department for psychically ill men existed in the
Hospitalers` Hospital from 1748 to 1898.

The next facility that admitted mentally ill was the General Accommodation Institute. It arose from St. Anne’s Dominican convent in 1786, when from the total number of 405 beds the first 5 and later much more beds were earmarked for treatment of patients with psychosis.

In 1865 the General Accommodation Institute was turned to St. Anne’s Municipal Hospital, it was completed in 1868. A separate department for mentally ill was established within the framework of the hospital.

A further institution inherently connected to psychiatric care is the mental home in Brno-Černovice, founded in 1863. It has 827 beds today.

The second Czech university, the Masaryk University in Brno, was founded on January 28th 1919 by the act No. 50. Following the foundation of the Masaryk University and it’s medical faculty, clinical sites were founded in St. Anne’s Hospital for education of medical students. On this legal basis the former psychiatric observatory department was turned to a clinic domiciled in St. Anne’s Municipal Hospital in the Pekařská Street. For a short period of time, the formerly separate psychiatric clinic was united with the neurology department to and turned into a neuropsychiatric clinic. In 1948 the Ministry of Education permitted the establishment of separate psychiatric and neurologic clinics.

In 1965 the psychiatry clinic gained a new building in the premises of the University Hospital in Brno-Bohunice.

History of the “new” Psychiatric clinic of Medical Faculty of Masaryk University and University Hospital in Brno

After replacing the seriously ill prof. Lauter on the position of the head of the psychiatric clinic in 1955, prof. Hádlík started a systematical fight for decent premises for the facility. He succeeded at persuading the then governing political leadership not to carry out the conversion of the old building on the Pekařská Street, totally unsuitable for functioning as a psychiatric clinic, providing conditions far from decent for both patients and health care workers. At that time it was (and remains in these days) uncommon to do anything with such a purposeful concept for the field of psychiatry.

A group of the staff, under the direction of prof. Hádlík, consisting of Jarmila Synková, M.D., the head of the department, doc. Jiří Mišurec and doc. Milan Bouchal, permanently cooperated with architect Kříž and the civil engineers. The head nurse, Květa Sochatzi, was also of big help. In the new premises the clinic gained its own electroencephalographic, biochemical and psychophysiological laboratories. A new day sanatorium and a medical psychology department were established, possibilities for physical therapy arose and new fitting, joinery, artetherapeutic and horticultural workshops that were newly founded within the frame of the rehabilitation ward, and last but not least the telephone operated first aid service called the Hope Line was established.

The modern building of the Psychiatric Clinic in Brno-Bohunice with a capacity of 130 beds and 25 places in the day sanatorium was opened in 1965 and at that time it was, considering its architecture and organization, an outstanding psychiatric facility.

Turning points and changes

The political-economical changes after November 1989 showed in psychiatry in certain changes in some of the manifestations of mental disorders and in a shift in the problem of reactive states. This all lead to a reorganization of the for a long time stable structure of the psychiatric clinic. Due to centralization and striving for economizing its operation the clinic also lost some of the advantages of the complementary psychiatric care (hydrotherapy, ergotherapy).
In December 1989 the first Crisis Centre in the Czech Republic took up activity. It was founded thanks to the enthusiasm of a young team of physicians and psychologists and the pertinacity of prof. Švestka, then head of the clinic, who was able to push through its existence. The Crisis Center constitutes a co-educated unit rendering short-term intensive psychotherapy in the times of a life crisis and in reactive mental disorders in both in- and out-patient settings. The center operates as a gateless access, round-the-clock unit offering psychiatric help.
Sexology as a field gained independence.
The Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit with a capacity of 5 beds was established as a part of the Clinic. This separate unit, fitted up with standard intensive care unit equipment, renders complex care to patients with simultaneous occurrence of a mental disease and a serious somatic disease and in risk of endangering vital functions.
After immense striving the Psychiatric Clinic obtained a device for performing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a first psychiatric facility in Czech Republic ever. The rTMS unit mainly concentrates on depressive disorder treatment. A broad range of other indications are in the stage of clinical testing.
An out-patient sexology-specialized practice came into being, coming up to the needs of the patients of the clinic, focused on diagnostics and treatment of sexual dysfunctions caused by psychopharmacotherapy. As a further specialized outpatient office the internal medicine office for metabolism and nutrition disorders started to work, under the guidance of a physician specializing in internal medicine.
Because of economic reasons the day sanatorium was closed. In the present-day concept of psychiatry an emphasis is put onto this modality of psychiatric care and that is why we strongly hope we will be able to revive the day hospital in the near future. We plan a new approach, offering complex therapeutic programs for a broader range of patients.
After being approved by the academic senate, psychology education was transferred to the newly established, separate Psychology Department of Masaryk University.
The University Center for First Episodes of Psychotic Disorders was founded in the frames of the Psychiatric Clinic of Medical Faculty of Masaryk University and University Hospital in Brno, as a logical result of the longstanding interest of the staff of the clinic in this issue. The Center provides detailed diagnostics by using clinical experience and complex diagnostic equipment (neuropsychology lab, MRI, fMRI, quantified EEG, lab tests) and therapeutic possibilities (new atypical antipsychotics, rTMS, education, supportive psychotherapy, neuropsychological rehabilitation). Pregradual and postgradual training and clinical research are a part of the activities of the Center.

Heads of the psychiatric (neuropsychiatric) clinic in Brno in chronological order:

1. prof. MUDr. Karel Bělohradský 1922-1929
(* 1/18/1889 + 3/12/1929) - the first in Moravia who treated metalues by malaria infection  
2. prof. MUDr Hubert Procházka 1929-1935
(* 10/19/1885 + 10/18/1935) - strongly engaged - dean, president of Medical Chamber, shot by a mentally ill, a former patient of the psychiatric department 
3. doc. MUDr. Karel Popek 1935-1937 and 1945-1947
(* 7/2/1899 + 1/14/1971)
4. prof. MUDr. Miroslav Křivý 1937-1939
(* 1/23/1896 + 4/23/1942) - perished in a concentration camp
5. prof. MUDr. Josef Lauterer 1948-1955
(* 4/22/1891 + 2/22/1958) - first head of the separate Psychiatric Clinic
6. prof. MUDr. Josef Hádlík 1956-1971
(* 3/23/1906 + 3/23/1974) - deserved credit by putting through the building of the new psychiatric clinic in the premises of the University Hospital in Brno-Bohunice
7. prof. MUDr. Karel Náhunek, DrSc. 1971-1987
(* 9/4/1921 + 2/8/2006)
8. prof. MUDr. Jaromír Švestka, DrSc. 1987-1993
(* 9/15/1937)
9. prof. MUDr. Eva Češková, CSc. 1993 – 2011
(* 8/18/1946)
10. assoc.prof. Tomas Kasparek, MD PhD 2011 -

© Clinic of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty Hospital Brno