Clifford W. Beers And The Mental Hygiene Movement

1256 Words6 Pages
Clifford W. Beers wrote “More fundamental, however, than any technical reform, cure, or prevention—indeed, a condition precedent to all these—is a changed spiritual attitude toward the insane. They are still human: they love and hate, and have a sense of humor.”1 A man with a mental illness, Clifford W. Beers admitted himself into many mental institutions, and experienced the inhumane ways nurses treated patients. After seeing the harsh states of mental hospitals, Beers created and led the Mental Hygiene Movement, later renamed the Mental Health Movement, from 1908 to the late 1940s during the Great Depression, to promote mental hygiene in the U.S. On October 31st 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act to start…show more content…
Beers worked vigorously to make a considerable amount of changes with mental health during the Mental Hygiene Movement. For example, Beers created more humane mental hospitals, by changing asylums into mental hospitals, by creating more hospitals because more people were realizing that they had a mental illness, and by removing the inhumane treatments at hospitals to get patients to be treated as humans.3 A news reporter wrote in 1919, “Clifford W. Beers, through his own painful experience, came with a burning message. Insanity, so long a nameless horror, was something real to him, as indeed it might become to anyone, but he was one who had lived through it and “conic back.” The burden of Mr. Beers' message when A Mind that Found Itself was published in 1909 was “give the insane a fair deal”; and from his work grew the organization of the National Society for Mental Hygiene and State Societies in about twenty states.”4 Beers experienced some inhumane treatments, during his stays at mental institutions.5 In 1908, Clifford W. Beers wrote about his experiences in an autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself, where Beers stated, “I rushed to that window which was directly over the flag walk. Providence must have guided my movements, for in some otherwise unaccountable way, on the very point of hurling myself out bodily, I chose to drop feet foremost instead. With my fingers I clung for a moment to the sill. Then I let go. In falling my body turned so as to bring my…show more content…
This act started deinstitutionalization, helping patients move back into their communities, created community mental health centers, which costed more than expected and didn’t have the best treatments, and closed big mental hospitals, which Beers worked hard to establish for patients.24,25 Some patients needed to stay in big mental hospitals, like state hospitals, so a few large hospitals stayed open. Because of this act, many mental patients ended up on the streets, in homeless shelters, and in jail. Deinstitutionalization also caused many to feel neglected, which didn’t help their treatment, and it created community mental health centers that weren’t very developed, so it didn’t help the patients heal that

    More about Clifford W. Beers And The Mental Hygiene Movement

      Open Document