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A Mind That Found Itself: An Autobiography

Creator: Clifford Whittingham Beers (author)
Date: 1910
Publisher: Longmans, Green, and Co., New York
Source: Available at selected libraries

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Two Second Prizes of $10 each, and certificates of award, will be given to two nurses or attendants, one woman and one man, in each of these three hospitals, who, during the same period and for the same reasons, are, in the opinion of the respective superintendent of each institution, deserving of these Second Prizes.


No workers who minister to suffering humanity are more deserving of rewards in addition to their stipulated compensation than are nurses and attendants in hospitals for the insane. Theirs is an exacting vocation, one requiring the constant use of tact and consideration, often under most trying conditions.


In offering the listed prizes, The Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene hopes to inspire in this and other States, more substantial recognition by the public for those who, day in and day out, are in closest contact with the mentally afflicted, and upon whom the contentment and well-being of these sufferers so largely depends.






Copyrighted, 1910, by The Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene.


Under the restricting name of After-Care, Social Service work for several years past has been successfully carried on in this country in connection with a few hospitals for the insane. As a result of the development of this work in other States, and the development of Social Service in connection with general hospitals, the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene finds it possible to put into operation a new plan for Social Service. In Connecticut, for the first time, Social Service is to be carried on as a part of the work of hospitals for the insane and of a Society for Mental Hygiene, under the guidance of those hospital superintendents who serve as members of its Executive Committee. (23)

(23) The medical members of the Executive Committee are: Dr. Henry S. Noble, Supt. Connecticut State Hospital; Dr. Henry M. Pollock, Supt. Norwich State Hospital; Dr. Whitefield N. Thompson, Supt. Hartford Retreat; Dr. George H. Knight, Supt. School for Feeble Minded, Lakeville.


The three lay members are: Mr. Lewis H. English, New Haven; Judge L. P. Waldo Marvin, Hartford; Mr. Charles G. Sanford, Bridgeport.


This Social Service work, when developed to the limit of its possibilities, will include (a) the doing of everything that can be done to make permanent the recovery of persons who suffer an attack of nervous or mental disorder, whether treated in hospitals or in their own homes; (b) the giving of reassuring advice and assistance to the distressed families and friends of patients; (c) the giving of advice and assistance to defective or "handicapped" individuals so that they may avoid commitment and maintain themselves in the community; (d) the doing of anything which will tend to prevent the occurrence of nervous or mental disorders in that large class of preventable cases which is known to exist.


The value of Social Service Work may be set forth briefly under the following headings: (a) its value to the discharged patient; (b) to his relatives and friends; (c) to the hospital officials; (d) to the public.


(a) Its value to the discharged patient. Through the ministrations of a Social Service worker, the recovered patient can be assisted in avoiding those conditions which helped produce the initial attack of mental disorder and to guard against many dangers which might tend to undermine his mental health and cause a relapse. Acquaintance with the patient preceding his discharge from the hospital, will make it possible, after he has again taken up his work in the world, for the social worker to assist in his continued observance of the instructions given him by the hospital physicians. This assistance should not, however, consist solely of words of advice. Work of a sort which will tend to make permanent his recovery should be found for the discharged patient, and, if pecuniary assistance be needed, and is deserved, a reasonable amount of money should be advanced for his benefit, preferably in the form of a loan, with the understanding that he shall reimburse the Committee when able to do so. Continued contact with the social worker who has befriended him will free the discharged patient from many worries regarding his future and go far toward preventing his relapse.


(b) Its value to the patient's relatives and friends. Not the least of the many advantages of work in Social Service is that the invaluable advice of the social worker can best be offered under the favoring conditions which arise at the time a recovered patient is about to return to his home. Whereas, under ordinary circumstances, many families might resent advice regarding the preservation of their mental health, experience proves that under the conditions mentioned, such advice is accepted eagerly and put to good use. Many families also welcome guidance by a tactful lay worker when a relative is about to be or recently has been committed to an institution. At such times, above all others, distressed relatives of the patient stand in need of advice and assistance.

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