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Better planning of institutions.
The establishment of a definite State policy relative thereto.
A reclassification and redistribution of feeble-minded inmates in various State institutions.
BILLS IN TO CARRY OUT RECOMMENDATIONS Bills to carry out some of the recommendations of the Commission this year were promptly introduced into the Legislature, and some of them are well on the road toward passage.
One of these bills, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Sage, Chairman of the Commission, has already been passed by the Senate and advanced to the order of third reading in the Assembly. This is the bill creating a new State commission on the feeble-minded to be composed of a medical man, the Fiscal Supervisor of the State Charities and the Secretary of the State Board. This measure puts upon the new commission the administration of the institutions for the feeble-minded; directs it to take a census of all feeble-minded persons in the State; to recommend a uniform state-wide commitment law to the Legislature before February first, next; to provide for the establishment of clinics; to establish farm and industrial colonies; and to make new rules for the reception, care, training, parole and discharge of inmates of State institutions for the feeble-minded.
Another bill which Senator Sage has introduced provides for a reclassification and redistribution of feeble-minded inmates of the various State institutions, with a view to removing the large numbers of mental defectives of the non-reformable type who are now in institutions for normal inmates. Both of these bills are in line with the Commission's general recommendation that the first great need in relation to the feeble-minded is to determine upon a definite State policy, and to fix responsibility for carrying it out.
Bills have also been introduced to provide more adequately for the insane. One bill, which has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Sage and in the Assembly by Mr. Machold, appropriates money to obtain an option on a site for a new State hospital for the insane in the metropolitan district in place of the abandoned Mohansic site at Yorktown.
The annual appropriation bill, which has just been introduced, carries two and a half millions in appropriations and authorizations for new construction at State institutions for the insane and feeble-minded. Funds are provided for making a start toward two new State hospitals, a psychopathic hospital for New York City, and for enlargements at various institutions. The amount for the institutions for the insane is $1,012,655, and for the institutions for the feeble-minded, particularly the completion of Letchworth Village, about $883,000.
OTHER LEGISLATION These are the particular items of legislation pending at Albany which are of special interest to this Committee. The only other matter of much importance is the question of establishing a system of central purchasing for all of the State departments and institutions. A bill creating a central supply committee, modeled after the purchasing committee of the Federal Government, has been introduced at Albany. This bill also grew out of a report of a special commission-a commission which was created by the last Legislature to study purchasing methods.
Both the Mental Hygiene Committee and the State Charities Aid Association have always been opposed to central purchasing for institutions on the ground that it inevitably results in the determination of institutional policy by financial authorities remote from the institutions, and not in a position to judge of the needs and requirements of the thousands of human beings within the institutions.
Mr. Wright and the Executive Secretary have conferred with the officials at Albany, stating our position and making recommendations to amend the bill so as to exempt the institutions from the provisions of such a scheme unless the institutional heads represented in the central supply committee should so vote.
PUBLIC MEETINGS AND ADDRESSES
Since the last meeting of the Committee, twenty-two meetings, addresses and lectures have been given under the Committee's auspices and through its coöperation. They are as follows: January 10. The Executive Secretary delivered the first in a course of
seven lectures at Public School 62, Manhattan, on “Can We Make
This Country Sane for Democracy?” January 13. Dr. Walter G. Ryon, Superintendent of the Hudson River
State Hospital at the Central Branch Y. M. C. A., Brooklyn, on “How
New York State Cares for Its Insane.” Dr. Henry Smith Williams at the West Side Y. M. C. A. on “Heredity
and Insanity.” January 17, 25. Miss Taft lectured in Philadelphia to the senior students
of the training school for nurses under the auspices of the Philadelphia
League of Nursing and Education. January 17. Mr. McGarr of the State Hospital Commission at Public
School 62 on “How the State Cares for 37,000 Insane." January 18. Dr. Ira S. Wile lectured at the Bedford Branch Y. M. C. A.
on "Sex Education, an Aid to Mental Health."
January 20. Mr. Bowman lectured at the West Side Y. M. C. A. on “Why
Be Feeble-minded?” January 24. Mr. Bowman lectured at Public School 62 on “Why Be
Feeble-minded?” January 27. Mr. Elwood lectured at the West Side Y. M. C. A. on “Steer
ing the Human Machine." January 31. Dr. William W. Wright of the Psychiatric Institute lectured
at Public School 62. February 3. Mr. Bowman lectured at the Rochester Y. M. C. A. on “Why
Be Feeble-minded?” February 5. Mr. Bowman lectured at the Church of the Messiah on “The
Social Significance of Mental Deficiency." February 8. The Executive Secretary addressed the State Conference of
Magistrates in Buffalo on “What Shall Be Done With the Defective
Delinquents?" February 14. Miss Elizabeth E. Farrell lectured at Public School 62 on
“Special Classes in the Public Schools." February 15. Dr. Cheney of the Manhattan State Hospital lectured at the
Bedford Branch Y. M. C. A., Brooklyn, on “Syphilis and Alcohol
as Foes of the Mind." February 17. The Executive Secretary addressed the Rochester Y.M.C. A.
on “Can We Make This Country Sane for Democracy?” February 18. The Executive Secretary addressed the social workers in
Rochester on the proposed state program for the feeble-minded. February 28. The Executive Secretary at Public School 62 on “Public
Health and National Efficiency." March 5. The Social Service Director lectured at the Round Table of the
Association to Promote Proper Housing for Girls on “What Shall We
Do with the Unstable Girl?” March 12. The Executive Secretary addressed the Ministers' Association
of Yonkers on “Mental Health and the War.” March 14. The Social Service Director at the New York State Training
School for Girls, Hudson, on “The Scientific Attitude towards Mind
and its Bearing on Reformatory Methods." March 19. The Social Service Director at the New York State Training
School for Girls, Hudson, N. Y., on "Mind as an Organ of Adaptation."
PUBLICITY AND LITERATURE
Requests for literature have poured in not only from this State but from all parts of the country. One request for literature was from the United States Marshall at Fairbanks, Alaska. The total distribution of literature, since the last meeting, is 2,840 pieces. Three new publications have been issued; namely, 600 copies of the annual report of the Committee; 300 copies of a booklet containing a list of the State Hospital clinics, and 1,000
copies of an address on “What Shall be Done With Defective Delinquents," delivered by the Executive Secretary before the New York State Conference of Magistrates in Buffalo.
Twenty-seven newspaper stories have been prepared and sent out through this office since the last meeting of the Committee. They related to clinic activities, the annual reports of visitors to State hospitals, the report of the State Hospital Commission, and the report of the Hospital Development Commission. In addition to the special edition of the S. C. A. A. News on the report of the Development Commission, a special article setting forth the war activities of the various hospitals has been prepared for the current issue. Miss Taft has written for the current issue of the magazine, Medicine and Surgery, an article entitled “Limitations of the Psychiatrist.”
FINANCIAL REPORT Mr. Wright, Secretary pro tem of the Association, reported on the finances of the Committee as follows:
The budget of the Committee on Mental Hygiene for the current fiscal year, as adopted by the Board of Managers of the State Charities Aid Association, is $11,000. This permits an average expenditure of $916.66 per month.
During the first five months of the fiscal year the expenditures have been as follows: October..
1,006.63 The average expenditure per month has been $959.56. Although this exceeds the budget allowance by about $44 a month, this will be offset by the lessened expenses during the summer months and by the saving in the salary of the Executive Secretary, loaned on part time to the National Committee.
The total amount expended by the Committee so far during the fiscal year is $4,797.82. The expenditures during February were as follows: Rent..
507.50 Petty cash and Postage.
49.49 Miscellaneous Office Expenses.
11.60 Traveling Expenses.
94.45 Telephone. .
13.91 Printing and Literature.
123.33 Newspaper clippings.
S.C. A. A. News.
PATIENTS' EXPENSE ACCOUNT Balance February 1, 1918..
$403.11 Expended in February
Balance February 28, 1918. ....
$341.05 REPORT OF SOCIAL SERVICE DEPARTMENT In the absence of Miss Taft, Mr. Bowman read the report for the Social Service Department as follows:
STATISTICS OF CASE WORK
January and February The work of the Social Service Department during the months of January and February has been extremely heavy, particularly in February. The January report is as follows: Total attendance.
59 New cases.
18 Old cases.
41 Visits to or in re patients
24 Visits by or in re patients.
76 February Total number of cases.
56 New cases.
21 Old cases.
35 Visits to or in re patients.
64 Visits by or in re patients.
57 At Cornell Clinic of Psychopathology the attendance has been correspondingly large. For January the total attendance was 42, representing 22 new and 9 old cases. In February there has been an extremely large
The total attendance, particularly considering how short a month it is. attendance was 54 representing 27 new cases; 27 new cases in a month of twenty-eight days means very heavy work for the physician and the social service attendant. The morning clinic has had as many as seven new cases to be examined at one session.
EDUCATIONAL The lecture work of the department during the past two months has been rather light but of considerable importance. In January two lectures were given in Philadelphia before the senior nurses of all the training schools on “The Social Aspects of Mental Disease.”