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November 8, 1941


JAMA. 1941;117(19):1633. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820450057020


CARE OF THE MENTALLY ILL  The care of the mentally ill has been most inadequate. Dr. Victor H. Vogel, past assistant surgeon of the United States Public Health Service,1- begins a discussion of this subject by noting that "the deplorable conditions in many state hospitals for the mentally ill and the huge costs of this type of illness have been recently discussed in several popular magazines and newspapers of wide circulation." The overcrowded condition of such governmental institutions for the care of the mentally sick has been pointed out annually in the reports of the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association.This is the largest section of the field of health care that from its very nature is necessarily confided to governmental agencies. All stages of the detection, commitment and care of the mentally diseased is also a governmental function, and the way in which this function is performed is described by Dr. Vogel as follows:Archaic, persecutory commitment practices, which include court appearances and sometimes jury trials, help to perpetuate this attitude. In too many states the mentally ill are thrown into jail, after which they are transported to the state hospitals by sheriffs, who frequently substitute