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Article
June 1, 1957

MENTAL ILLNESS IS A MEDICAL PROBLEM

JAMA. 1957;164(5):565. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02980050055018

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Abstract

"... [and] it is high time the medical profession launched a concerted attack on this problem." This emphasis was made recently by David B. Allman, M.D., President-elect of the American Medical Association, at a meeting of the 1957 National Health Forum on "Better Mental Health—A Challenge to All Health Services."

"As a physician," Dr. Allman stated in his speech, "I am concerned about the responsibilities of the medical profession in treating mental patients—and more important, in preventing further increases in mental illness in the future."

Decades ago, mental illness was considered a social, moral, and legal problem, with mentally disturbed people treated as witches, possessors of evil spirits, or objects of public hilarity. Today, the conscientious, well-informed doctor, realizing that even physical illness can be mentally induced, puts more emphasis on treating the whole person to solve his mental as well as physical problems.

Dr. Allman pointed out that only about

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