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B.M.A. Committee on Mental Health

Nature volume 141, page 1091 (18 June 1938) | Download Citation



THE ever-recurring problems of sickness both in industry and in the general population which cannot be satisfactorily diagnosed or relieved by reference to the bodily symptoms alone, has led to a slowly developing interest into the mental aspect of disease. More than ten years ago, a report of the Industrial Health Research Board gave experimental evidence that led to the view that telegraphists' cramp was a psycho-neurotic manifestation. Studies of industrial sickness-absence show that much inefficiency, lost time and unhappiness are related to disorders of the type vaguely labelled nervous breakdown. Also investigations into industrial failures show that a large proportion are people whose disabilities are of a mental or emotional nature. It is therefore opportune that a special committee of the British Medical Association should be appointed to study the problem 1 of mental health in general. The committee is to make a thorough study of all the available statistics and will seek to compare the importance of mental illness with other conditions already recognized by the State as requiring action. It will consider the part which the general practitioner, hospitals, clinics under the Mental Treatment Act, child guidance and other clinics, can play in the prevention of such illness, and study the degree of success attainable by the present available methods of treatment. A very important part of the committee's work will be to consider the part allotted to psychological medicine in medical training. The members of the committee are as follows: Sir Robert Johnston (president), Sir Kaye le Fleming (chairman of council), Mr. H. Guy Dain (chairman of representative body), Mr. N. Bishop Harman (treasurer), Sir Henry Brackenbury, Dr. J. A. Brown, Dr. Millais Culpin, Dr. R. G. Gordon, Sir Walter Langdon-Brown, Dr. Mary C. Luff, Dr. E. Mapother, Dr. Doris M. Odium, Dr. A. A. W. Petrie, Dr. J. R. Rees, Dr. Benjamin Reid, Dr. D. Stewart, and Dr. R. M. Stewart.

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