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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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Social Service not only facilitates the use of the parole system and the re-entrance of the recovered patient into home life and helps him to become self-supporting again, but the benefits of advice and instruction given the patient extend also to his family and circle of acquaintances. A social worker in assisting the recovered patient can, at the same time, point out to his relatives the known causes of the case and warn them regarding habits and conditions which tend to produce mental disorder. Such knowledge will often prevent the occurrence of other cases in the family. For, as investigation has proved, where one member of a family has suffered mental collapse, there are usually to be found other members whose temperaments and constitutions are such as to require increased protection against even the ordinary strain and stress of life. With this increased protection in the form of intelligent guidance, and co-operation on the part of the threatened individual, he is, if anything, less likely to suffer collapse than a person who assumes that his mind can never fail him.


Thus it is that work in Social Service includes work in so-called After-Care and Prevention, Indeed, these activities are inseparable, and once the work of a Social Service Committee is thoroughly organized it will be found that more work can be done in Fore-Care than in After-Care. Work in Prevention should be the chief activity of a Society for Mental Hygiene.


(c) Its value to hospital officials. By widening their spheres of influence, Social Service increases the usefulness and efficiency of hospitals. The trained lay worker who investigates a case, can usually secure for the hospital officials information which they themselves often find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. Especially is this true regarding the home environment to which the patient is about to return, in the study of which a social worker can secure facts about the family history which relatives may have withheld when answering questions originally submitted. As a result, a complete record of the case is secured and the physicians can then give effective advice as to what may best be done to make permanent the recovery of the patient. Experience proves also that the non-professional worker who has studied the home environment of the patient at close range, is frequently able to relieve doubts, fears, and suspicions, of the patient and his family, and to clear up misunderstandings which the hospital officials themselves, unaided, could scarcely hope to correct. When one considers that the lack of confidence in our hospitals, which is known to exist in some quarters, is based in part on trivial misunderstandings, the value of the non-professional worker acting as a common friend and mediator at once becomes apparent.


(d) Its value to the public. The public should know and remember that Social Service by preventing occurrence in some cases and relapse in others, helps relieve the usually overcrowded condition of our hospitals and, relatively at least, diminishes the ultimate cost of the burden of insanity. The tremendous financial advantage of prevention over cure in regard to other diseases has been mathematically demonstrated in the recent government report on the Conservation of National Vitality. There is no reason to doubt that equal or greater advantage is possible with regard to insanity. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that the State will one day grant appropriations for work in this field. But, in the meantime, the public should give liberal support and thus help to demonstrate the value of a work so broad in scope as to benefit all persons in the community.






Any person, whether a member of the Society or not, may -- for the asking -- obtain at the Society's office, or by correspondence, advice for himself or regarding the many and oftentimes perplexing questions which arise when a relative or friend seems in danger of nervous or mental collapse, or is about to he or has been committed to a hospital.


Interviews and letters will be regarded as confidential.


Telephone 3008.


All correspondence should be addressed to CLIFFORD W. BEERS, Executive Secretary.




Applications for membership, dues and contributions should be sent to C. W. Beers, Executive Secretary, 39 Church Street, New Haven, Connecticut.


Checks should be made payable to the New Haven Trust Co., or W. Perry Curtiss, Treasurer.




Any person, resident in Connecticut, is eligible for membership in this Society. A Member's Annual Dues of Two Dollars ($2) are payable upon his enrolment and on October 1st, which date marks the beginning of the Society's fiscal year.




The Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene, the first Society of its kind to be founded, and forerunner of The National Committee for Mental Hygiene, depends for support upon the dues received from members and such contributions as may be made by those desiring to give more than the stipulated dues.

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