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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

New ways of attacking the problem

Some thoughts from Dorothy on the mentally ill.

"Even if the "industry" which supports the community, comes under the title of a work of mercy, such as caring for the aged, for crippled children, for the mentally ill, all the families taking in the lame, the halt and the blind, it would financially, and humanly, support itself.
I am always hearing of the homes being started to care for the aged, or the mentally afflicted, and am aghast at the enormous sums spent for the buildings for this work. And the enormous charges made by these homes."
"On Pilgrimage - November 1957"
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, November 1957, 4, 7.

"Contact with people who have had mental breakdowns, and visiting in mental hospitals, and the presence among us of so many psychosomatic complaints among people who live with us, has made me more than ever interested in the decentralization of mental hospitals.
In fact decentralization seems to be the solution to so many of our problems, from how to deal with the men on our skid rows, or how to deal with prisons and mental hospitals and the poor in India and Africa. The "do it yourself" movement; the service of others so emphasized by the Alcoholics Anonymous and Abbe Pierre; the retreat movement, all these are attempts to take care of the ills of the day, finding new ways of attacking the problem of how to perform the works of mercy most effectively, and without calling in the aid of the State."
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, June 1956, 2

"We also want to call attention to the book "When Minds Go Wrong" by Dr. John Maurice Grimes, M.D., published by Devin Adair, about the present condition of our state mental hospitals. "Into asylums there have been dumped the old, the decrepit, the inadequate of every sort; with little consideration or question about mental illness, and with less consideration of the need or effectiveness of treatment. There is no more justification for keeping these patients in prison now than there was a century and a half ago for keeping them in chains."
Only those who have had occasion to visit a number of the many mental hospitals around New York begin to realize how vast is the problem of the mentally ill, and how far we are from meeting it with our giant hospitals caring for as many as 15,000 patients. Anyone who has seen these great structures rising from the flat country of Long Island must be startled into the realization that the building of more and more giant hospitals is not solving the problem."
"On Pilgrimage - June 1956"
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, June 1956, 6, 7.