«Implementation of such a grand plan… seems illusive»
The history of the state institution «Republican clinical psychiatric hospital» begins on October 5, 1918, when by the decision of the provincial council a technician on farming standards Konstantin Ivanovich Mokhnach was appointed the head of the household of the farm Novinki and in abandoned buildings of the farm a psychiatric camp began its existence. The first head of the hospital until 1930 was Semyon Ivanovich Volochkovich. Along with nurses M. T. Borsukevich, E. K. Kolonitskaya, N. E. Kuznetsova, assistant warden N. E. Kuznetsov, head of subsistence farm I. L. Kraevsky, he made considerable efforts to restore and develop the hospital.
In mid 1920 the hospital was known as «The 1st Soviet labor camp for mentally ill people Novinki».
In November of 1921 a report to the psychiatric section of the People’s Commissariat for Health was saying: «The only more or less decent place of charity for mentally ill people is the labor camp Novinki for 36 chronically ill people, but the premises of the farmstead six miles away from the city is completely unequipped, a major overhaul and construction of barracks for personnel is needed».
But despite difficult conditions, the camp continued to expand and by 1924 the number of beds in it grew up to 100. In 1927, with the assistance of the People's Commissariat for Health the hospital building with 75 beds and a kitchen were built. Before the war the camp numbered 300 beds. Treatment was limited to supportive and general health-improving therapy. Lands accounted for about 300 hectares, and residual patients’ ability to work was actively used on the farm.
After S. I. Volochkovich the camp was headed by Nikolai Mikhailovich Sherko, who was a participant of the events described by A. S. Serafimovich in «The iron stream». N. M. Sherko was loved by patients and enjoyed authority with employees because of his human qualities and skillful management. During the Great Patriotic War the invaders used the premises of the camp as a warehouse for equipment and forage. After the liberation of Minsk the hospital was restored and from January 1, 1949 acquired the status of the republican hospital, and since 1972 it became clinical. Currently it is the republican clinical psychiatric hospital, the leading clinical psychiatric institution of the country, where good conditions for examination and treatment of patients with mental disorders are created.
By the order of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus of February 4, 2009 № 76 "On renaming and approval of the Charter of the state institution «Republican research and practice сenter of mental health» the state institution «Republican clinical psychiatric hospital» was renamed to the state institution «Republican research and practice сenter of mental health».