Courses in Psychiatry began at Queen's with the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine in 1854. Previously, students were introduced to various types of mental disorders in the basement of Kingston Penitentiary, where many mentally ill prisoners were incarcerated.
Following the construction of Rockwood Mental Hospital in 1855 on what was then the outskirts of the city, students attended elective lectures at that institution. Dr. C.K. Clarke, well known as the founder of the "mental hygiene" movement in Canada, was Professor of Psychiatry from 1895 to 1905.
The medical faculty began a psychiatric teaching program at Kingston General Hospital in the 1930s. Today, the Department of Psychiatry is a multidisciplinary department that provides secondary and tertiary psychiatric services for patients throughout Southeastern Ontario.
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