APRIL 23, 1957
HYDE PARK—Newspaper headlines the other day announced that the State of New York was going to build a $70,000,000 mental hospital in the East Bronx. As long as we keep increasing the number of beds that have to be used for mental patients in our hospitals, I suppose new hospitals such as this one are essential. But I deplore the fact that we are not putting enough into training of psychiatrists and nurses, so that our mental cases can be reduced rather than go on increasing.
Our real shortage is in doctors and nurses to take the kind of care of mental patients which will mean their rehabilitation and return to normal living. If facilities were available for patients to use when the first symptoms of difficulty arise, we would probably not have the number of hospital cases which we have. More trained doctors and trained nurses, with prompt discovery of the difficulties in the mental field, would cut down on our need for mental hospitals which at present seems to be rising all the time.
To be trained as a psychiatrist takes extra time out of a man's life, so that he must give up years when he could be earning money in order to become a psychiatrist. For that reason I think he should be compensated during the last years of his training.
More than 50 percent of our hospital beds are taken up by mental cases. It therefore behooves us, I believe, to give more thought to prevention than we have given in the past.
Another recent news item told of the reorganization of the New York law firm which is being joined by Adlai Stevenson, and which will now have offices in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. During the last few weeks, Mr. Stevenson has been making his decisions as to what his work in the future will be. I think the two things which have come out, the law firm affiliation and the affiliation with the Encylopedia Britannica Educational Film division, both mean good outlets for his great abilities. I hope that he will continue to be one of the greatest influences in the Democratic Advisory Committee, since his thinking and his guidance are much needed in the world today.
On Friday night I dined with Mrs. von Hesse and her daughter. Mrs. von Hesse is a remarkable woman. She has been ill for four years, and most of us would think that she would never contemplate hard work again. She has accepted the fact that perhaps her speech teaching, which has brought her so much interest in people and in human affairs, may have to be curtailed. But now she is turning to writing, which she feels she can do on her more limited schedule.
Two young men who had been her students, and their wives, were invited for dinner that night. Both of them were active business men in high executive positions, interesting men who were thinking along many lines, and yet I was amused to see how they listened to her opinions with great deference.
Mrs. von Hesse's daughter has inherited her teaching abilities and will carry on her work. To me she is no less remarkable than her mother, for to be close to a strong personality like Mrs. von Hesse and still preserve your own independence of thought and action and remain a personality in your own right, is an achievement which makes this association between mother and daughter a close and affectionate friendship. This is one of the happiest solutions in the evolution of family relationships.