In 1966, Pennsylvania passed the Mental Health Mental Retardation Act which had as its major purpose “to make it possible for every person with a mental disability to receive the kind of treatment he needs, when and where he needs it.” Catchment areas were set up statewide and each area was headed by a Base Service Unit (BSU). The BSU was to see that the mandated services were offered to the public.
The catchment area served by Chartiers Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center covered the following communities:
Baldwin Township, Bethel Park, Bridgeville, Carnegie, Castle Shannon, Collier Township, Crafton, Dormont, Greentree, Heidelberg, Ingram, McDonald, Mt. Lebanon, North Fayette, Oakdale Borough, Rosslyn Farms, Scott Township, South Fayette, South Park, Thornburg, Upper St. Clair.
In July 1968, a community meeting organized by a group of concerned citizens was held and the plan for a community corporation was endorsed. A temporary Board of Directors was elected and steps were taken to legally incorporate. Chartiers was one of the first in the state to set up a multi-agency, community corporation to provide mental health and mental retardation services.
May 1969 was the first official meeting of Chartiers Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center. A permanent Board was elected and various committees were formed. At this time, offices were located at 300 Mt. Lebanon Blvd., Castle Shannon. A search was undertaken to find suitable space for Chartiers Center. Part of the first floor of a building at 437 Railroad St., Bridgeville was leased. This building was known as the Bridgeville Professional Building and was owned by Nardei Enterprises. Bridgeville was chosen for two reasons: 1). It is the geographical center of the catchment area 2). Transportation is available to the Center from almost all parts of the region served.
In September 1970, staff was hired and the Base Service Unit was operational and ready for the delivery of services. In June 1972, Chartiers Center expanded the facilities to include the entire 2nd floor of the Bridgeville office building. In April 1978, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals approved Chartiers Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center as a psychiatric facility.
On January 11, 1982 there was a fire at 437 Railroad St. The building suffered major water and smoke damage and 10 firemen were injured in the blaze. The fire forced Chartiers Center to relocate for 3 months. During that time Chartiers staff worked out of the Bethany Presbyterian Church on Washington Avenue.
Today, Chartiers Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center is a private, non-profit corporation funded by state, county, 3rd party insurances and private funds. Services include: intake, referral, outpatient therapy, psychiatric assessment, service coordination, training and social rehabilitative services, crisis intervention, partial hospitalization, student assistance programs in local schools, community outreach, day and recreational services for adults with intellectual disabilities. In 2012, Chartiers began serving the chronically homeless with a behavioral health diagnosis and in 2014, Chartiers opened the Substance Abuse Treatment Program which serves consumers with co-occurring disorders (including behavioral health and substance abuse).
In 2014, through a grant from the Staunton Farm Foundation, Chartiers was able to change their name from Chartiers Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center to Chartiers Center. In addition, as part of the rebranding process, Chartiers now has a new logo which conveys hope to all in need and a fresh website which incorporates community resources for our consumers.
Chartiers Center has enjoyed working with and serving the Bridgeville community since 1970. The community at large continues to be very supportive of our mission to serve individuals in need.