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October 17, 1931


Author Affiliations

Professor of Neuropsychiatry, Albany Medical College ALBANY, N. Y.

JAMA. 1931;97(16):1119-1122. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02730160001001

The mental hygiene movement was formally inaugurated in the United States in 1908. In this year, Clifford W. Beers, a young Yale graduate, published his autobiography, A Mind That Found Itself, which contained a graphic description of his treatment and his feelings during a severe and somewhat protracted psychosis from which he had only recently recovered. As a consequence of his experiences, he decided to devote his life to the amelioration of conditions of the mentally ill, and sought to establish an organization or society with this aim in view. He appealed to Adolf Meyer for a suitable name for such a society, who offered "mental hygiene" as implying amelioration as well as prevention. In 1908, Beers organized the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene, the preliminary prospectus containing, among other excellent plans, the following:

The society shall exert influence to have courses in psychiatry established wherever there is a medical

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