The Austin State Hospital (ASH) has been caring for Texans with mental illness since 1857. The oldest mental health facility in Texas, the hospital holds a close connection to the history of Austin and the state. ASH was the first state facility of its kind built west of the Mississippi. By the late 1890’s, the patient population had increased from the original 12 patients to almost 700. Through the years, the hospital continued to expand, housing 3,500 patients in the 1960s. In the past 30 years, the emergence of private mental health hospitals and community care centers has decreased the hospital’s populations. Today, ASH is on the forefront of mental health care. The hospital’s mission, “partnering to support a person’s recovery,” embodies the spirit of collaboration at ASH.