Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about what makes Riggs unique. This is the third blog in the series, written by Kim Winnegge, L.C.S.W.
There is a community, nestled deep in the footlands of the Berkshires, which has been a staple in the psychiatric world for nearly one century.
This place, the Austen Riggs Center, sees treatment-resistant  individuals transitioning from feeling lost, burdened, trapped, and more, to people ready to take charge of their lives.
Riggs is a place that is undeniably nestled. It’s nestled on the Top Ten Psychiatry Hospital  list year after year, this hospital with a small census, and a question that one might wonder is: How? How does Riggs, with its small staff, its strange location to major metropolitan areas, continue to make this list?
As the last remaining open-setting psychiatric hospital in the United States Riggs is one of a kind.
Riggs offers services unlike any other facility—we offer patients the opportunity to take up their treatment:
- Through doors that are unlocked,
- through ongoing, complex discussions with medication providers,
- through in-depth psychoanalysis,
- and through examining multigenerational family history that places the patient in context.
Riggs is an exclusive institution. It has been for as many decades, because we believe that individuals who come here have been nestled in their troubles.
We want to help them make sense of that in a myriad of ways.
A small hospital ranked high on a national list is no small feat. Indeed, I can name each patient and staff member as they pass by my door.
As seasons change and the leaves turn a fantastic orangey-red here in western Massachusetts, I can rest assured that Riggs will remain as indispensable and incomparable as the colors I see in the mountains outside this beautiful campus. Come schedule a visit . I’m sure a patient would tell you much more heartfelt than I could about why Riggs is their choice, as it has been mine.