Danville State Hospital, a long-term psychiatric facility, is located one mile northeast of Danville, Pennsylvania takes great pride in being a part of the service continuum for individuals who have severe mental illness and substance abuse issues and continue to strive daily to provide optimal services for those in need.

Admission Process

Individuals admitted to Danville State Hospital must come directly from an inpatient hospitalization at a community hospital. Admission referrals from the general public are not accepted. If the treating physician at the community hospital determines that the individual requires longer-term psychiatric treatment, a referral is initiated by the social worker at that facility.

Referrals are accepted from the hospital's service area, which currently encompasses the following counties: Columbia, Centre, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Schuylkill, Snyder, and Union Counties

Authorization for admission to Danville State Hospital requires:

  1. The approval of the appropriate County Mental Health designee from the county where the person resides, and
  2. An involuntary commitment by court order under Section 304 or 305 of the Mental Health Procedures Act of 1976.
  3. Voluntary commitments are not accepted.

Patient's Rights

Individuals are provided with a copy and explanation of our Patient's Rights statement upon admission. A full-time External Consumer Advocate is available to all individuals and their families.

Patient Programs/Groups

The Danville State Hospital provides active treatment. These services include medical, nursing, occupational therapy, vocational adjustement services, therapeutic recreation, social workers, psychology and chaplaincy.

Every individual receives at least three hours of active treatment daily and in some cases more. All therapeutic groups are individualized to the specific needs unique to each person. Clinical efforts in the recovery process are geared toward preparing the individual for successful return to the community.

Group activies are geared toward educating the individual in developing skills. These activities are incorporated into the individual's treatment plan.

Group assignments are recommended by the treatment team based on the individual's goals and needs. These goals will enable the person to acquire or relearn skills that will help them achieve success in the community. Group outcomes are seen as effective if they provide successful reentry into the community and if they blend with community programs. The individual participates in the treatment team discussions and formulation of goals. The individual has a voice in their treatment and is encouraged to express their feelings about treatment.

History of Danville State Hospital

Danville State Hospital is the oldest state psychiatric facility currently in operation in Pennsylvania and was incorporated on April 13, 1869. In October 1872, three years after the cornerstone of the Block Building was laid, Danville State Hospital formally was opened. By Sept. 30, 1873, 138 male and 72 female patients had been admitted for treatment. Other maintenance buildings had been erected by this time in order to increase the size and services of the facility.

The land on which Danville State Hospital stands today was originally a tract owned by pioneer Daniel Montgomery, co-founder (with his father) of Danville and for whom the town was named. He willed it to his son, Daniel Strawbridge Montgomery, who gave it to his daughter, Margaret. Margaret married W.W. Pineo. As Executor of her Estate, the latter conveyed it to the State Hospital. Its 250 acres were purchased for $26,600 and Danville citizens backed the project by contributing $16,123.12 of that total.

The late Dr. Horrace Victor Pike (1877-1948) was a great innovator at Danville State Hospital. He initiated the first mental health clinic in state hospital service and was the first clinical director in the state under the Bureau of Mental Health, Department of Welfare. He was a specialist in neuropsychiatry, a widely known nerve specialist and the author of over fifty papers in the fields of mental hygiene, child guidance, and psychiatry.

Dr. Robert Gatski, Superintendent for 1955-1977, was the first to introduce chlorpromazine in the treatment of patients at Danville State Hospital. Since then, many new psychotropic medications have been developed. These medications have been successful in the treatment of mental illness and have facilitated the patients' placement back into the community.

In the 1950s the hospital received full approval of the Central Inspection Board of the American Psychiatric Association for excellence in patient care. The patient population showed a steady increase up to November 1955, when the figure reached 2,801. Since that time a gradual planned reduction has occurred. As a result, the census in 1968 was 1,899, and on June 30, 2002, the hospital census stood at 147. This is in keeping with the modern philosophy of treating patients in the least restrictive setting. In 1976, a Long Term Care Facility (Licensed Nursing Home) was opened to address the needs of our geriatric patients who no longer were considered to be in need of psychiatric care. The Long Term Care Facility closed on May 12, 1998. With the state system downsizing and the closing of Harrisburg State Hospital, this hospital's bed capacity increased to 180. With the consolidation effort, Danville State Hospital facilities are gradually being utilized to meet other community resource needs.

Over the past five years, much emphasis has been placed by this hospital on collaborating with county Mental Health Administrations to return individuals to the community. We work with them and assist them to divert admissions for people who can be served in a less restrictive setting. In addition, our hospital staff provides consultation on special needs populations and a myriad of training programs for community staff and providers.

In 1999, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, under Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services, began an initiative to reduce the utilization of seclusion and restraint at the State Mental Hospitals. In adopting this initiative, Danville State Hospital has experienced success while continuing to provide a safe, effective, and collaborative treatment environment. On Nov. 30, 2004, Danville State Hospital became the first psychiatric hospital in Pennsylvania and the nation to go four years without the use of mechanical restraint. This achievement represents a significant milestone in the history of the hospital and the evolution of mental health treatment.

Hospital Address

Danville State Hospital
50 Kirkbride Drive
Danville, PA  17821-9198
Phone: (570) 271-4500


Danville State Hospital has visiting hours 7 Days a Week at the following times:

• Weekdays from 3:30-5 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m.
• Weekends from 12:30-5 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m.

Visitation by clergy, attorneys, and others due to special circumstances can be made other times through prior arrangements. The hospital provides guidance, which must be adhered to during visitation, related to items that may be restricted from the premises.

There is visitor parking around the circle drive. Please register at the reception desk as you enter the Administration Building, and the Communication Center staff can direct you. Registration at the Communication Center requires the following: photo ID, license plate number, make and model of vehicle.

Hours of Operation

Social Work staff is available weekdays at (570) 271-4575 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to answer questions about admission procedures.

Clinical referral materials should be mailed by an approved referral source (an acute care community psychiatric hospital) simultaneously to the appropriate County Mental Health designee from the individual's home county and to hospital (address above).

Employment Opportunities

Danville State Hospital provides a variety of employment opportunities and is an Equal Opportunity Employer. For specific information regarding current and future openings please contact the Human Resource Department at (570) 271-4595. You can also visit the State Civil Service Commission for additional information.