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(1949). Notes. Psychoanal Q., 18:135-136.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:135-136


One of the most serious handicaps in combating mental illness is the shortage of trained personnel. There are only about four thousand trained psychiatrists in the entire United States. It has been estimated that we need at least four times that number. We also need many times the present number of clinical psychologists, psychiatric social workers, and psychiatric nurses. Other mental health personnel, such as psychiatric aides (attendants) and occupational and recreational therapists are equally scarce.

Before any real progress can be made in conquering mental illness and improving the mental health of the people, we must have trained personnel to provide mental health services throughout the country. The NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH ACT, which was passed in 1946 to 'improve the mental health of the people of the United States', provides among other things for the training of increased numbers of persons in the field of mental health. It is hoped that through this legislation the shortages of personnel will eventually be met.

Under the National Mental Health Act, the Public Health Service of the Federal Security Agency, upon recommendation of the National Advisory Mental Health Council, may make grants to public and other nonprofit institutions 'to provide training and instruction in matters relating to psychiatric disorders'. In this way institutions that already offer training in the mental health fields may improve and expand their teaching staffs to instruct a greater number of students, and potential training centers in universities, hospitals, medical and other schools may be developed.

At the present time, grants are being awarded to institutions offering graduate training in psychiatry, clinical psychology, psychiatric social work, and psychiatric nursing. It is anticipated that grants for training other types of mental health personnel may be awarded in the future.


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