May 1966

What Is the Social in Social Psychiatry?

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Neuropharmacology Research Center, National Institute of Mental Health, US Department of Health, Education and Welfare, US Public Health Service, Clinical Studies Center, Saint Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1966;14(5):449-455. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1966.01730110001001

TWO MAJOR pieces of legislation have been enacted within the recent past which are of historic moment. Both the Kennedy bill on mental illness and mental retardation and the Johnson Economic Opportunities Act, popularly known as the Anti-Poverty Program, offer a powerful stimulus for action against two of the most crippling conditions of our society. In his now famous message on mental illness and mental retardation, the late President Kennedy reported that:

They [mental disabilities] occur more frequently, affect more people, require more prolonged treatment, cause more suffering by families of the afflicted, waste more human resources, and constitute more financial drain upon both the Public Treasury and personal finances of individual families, than any other single condition.

This is a simple but profound statement of fact. It is a fact that has been known for a long time by the administrators of public funds.

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