History of Hamm Clinic

In the 1950s, mental illness was identified as a serious national health problem. However, attempts to address this problem were mostly unsuccessful. Individuals without resources to pay for treatment were often neglected or segregated; the stigma associated with mental illness was pervasive.

In the Twin Cities, those who could not afford private care got either no care or received their treatment in a state hospital, away from family and community. Attempts were made to serve people in the community but these efforts often failed due to inadequate funding. Thus the working poor and even many moderate to middle income people received little or no treatment.

Led by Theodore Hamm's granddaughter, Margaret Hamm Kelley, herself a social worker, members of the Hamm family worked to help meet this need. Hamm Memorial Psychiatric Clinic was established in 1954 with the belief that comprehensive mental health care is a basic human right for every community member.

The initial staff was small and included psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers to ensure an empathetic and comprehensive approach to treatment. Today, the goal of quality, accessible direct patient care still drives the clinic's work along with the vision for its sustainability and growth. Hamm Clinic is committed to a thorough evaluation and appropriate team-based treatment for each client; a practice model as vital now as it was in 1954.