Princeton House Behavioral Health Celebrates 50 Years


Fifty years ago, in July 1971, Princeton Hospital opened 84 licensed psychiatric inpatient beds to serve the mental health needs of the community. At the time, patient stays were measured in weeks, not days.

Advancements in medication and a transition to community-based care—brief inpatient hospitalization followed by a lengthier period of acute outpatient programming—now allow for shorter hospitalizations and more effective treatment.

“It’s remarkable to think Princeton House Behavioral Health started with 20 inpatients as the average daily census back in 1971,” said Marguerite Pedley, PhD, senior vice president, Princeton House Behavioral Health. “Until the pandemic required us to decrease admissions, we averaged close to five times that number of inpatients. We care for 400 outpatients daily.”

The Princeton House team kicked off a year of celebration on Aug. 18 with an employee town hall that shares history, greetings from leaders in the community, and a video about Princeton House’s history. Clinical lectures, community events, and employee celebrations will continue until June 2022.

In 1971, the Board of Trustees of Princeton Hospital –- now Penn Medicine Princeton Health -– envisioned offering high-quality psychiatric services to the local community by adding the capacity to treat behavioral health conditions and addictions to its existing hospital-based medical services.

Today, Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health operates a 116-bed inpatient facility with an average length of stay of less than 10 days, as well as acute partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient services at five locations throughout Central and Southern New Jersey.

Princeton House offers treatment programs for children, adolescents, older adults, first responders, and even separate women’s and men’s trauma programs for those struggling with mental health issues, substance use, or both.

Princeton House also offers inpatient care at the 22-bed Princeton Center for Eating Disorders, which is concurrently celebrating its 25th anniversary.

“Our staff is constantly innovating new services and incorporating the latest evidence-based research into our treatment protocols,” said Neal Schofield, MD, Princeton Health’s chair of Psychiatry. “As part of our goal to provide the right interventions for each patient, we also offer unique programs for specific populations, including veterans, first responders, and the LGBTQ community.”

As more patients return to in-person treatment, Princeton House will continue to expand to meet the needs of the community. This includes adding 8,000 square feet of treatment space to its outpatient site in New Brunswick in 2021-22.

Princeton House will also continue its well-received telehealth programming, which enables patients from Cape May to Sussex Counties to access high-quality treatment. When COVID-19 restrictions lift, inpatient capacity will increase as well.

“We have strong support from Penn Medicine to continue to be the system’s anchor of behavioral health in New Jersey,” Pedley said. “We are well-positioned to enter our next half century of service.”

To learn more about Princeton House Behavioral Health, visit or call 888-437-1610.

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