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status of the bill and keep in touch with Dr. Stevenson and
me about it. Dr. Stevenson was then the Executive Director of
the National Committee for Mental Hygiene.
I had asked Dr. Stevenson to suggestto the Public Health
Service in early '45 that a National Mental Health Institute
similar to the National Cancer Institute would be a very good
idea. The Public Health Service had started to work on such a
bill as a result of Stevenson's suggest on.
I then got some figures together showing the small number
of psychiatrists trained to take care of the Mentally ill and
gave them to Dr. Kubie, who gave them to Tom Stokes for his
column in a newspaper, I think the Post or the World-Telegram.
Representative Percy Priest read the Stokes column, which was
syndicated, and had been interested in the sad situation in
the mental health hospitals he had seen. He, in turn, asked
the Public Health Service to give him a bill to introduce.
They gave him the Mental Health Institute Bill, which was similar
to the National Cancer Institute bill, which Dr. Stevenson
had suggested they prepare as a result of my suggestion to him.
Percy Priest got the bill through the House, but it probably
would have died in the Senate without out help.
We urged Pepper on, who got it through the Senate,
in June, 1946. In other words, it was from tinkers to errors to
chance that this got gone. We did have the help of Eugene
Meyer, who was the owner of the Washington Post, who did testify
in behalf of the bill, and who was not dynamic about it but
whose sympathy could be considered very helpful.
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