AUGUST 21, 1954
HYDE PARK, Friday—Thursday I went to Toronto, Canada, to speak before the International Congress on Mental Health. I had been reading everything I could that was reported in our papers about this meeting and I felt a great hesitation in accepting their very warm invitation to come and speak on the layman's responsibility in mental health.
I feel that most of us are very uninformed as to what can be done in the field of mental health and it poses one of the greatest problems for us today. But I wish that someone who could have made a greater contribution than I had made this speech.
There is a constantly growing population in our mental hospitals in a great many areas of the United States. Only now and then do we hear something encouraging. For instance, the two Doctors Menninger, Karl and William, are lowering the population in the state hospitals of Kansas. But there is no question that, in the field of prevention, the public should know more about what one can do.
Our government, national and state, should provide better training facilities for all those connected with the problems of mental illness. Here we have a specific area in which the public could more actively promote government participation in raising standards of training and in supplying enough money for preventive efforts.
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I was back in New York in the late evening Thursday but could not make a train for Hyde Park, so I spent the night in New York and came up to the country early Friday morning.
Here I had a house full of guests arriving for the weekend—Mrs. Dorothy Roosevelt and her daughter, Amy, and young Eleanor Lund, my late dear friend Miss Thompson's niece, who will bring a young friend with her. With our rather large family and the return of my son John and his family from their three-weeks trip, we now have really large parties for our picnic lunch every day by the pool. But it is fun and all the children are so happy to be together.
The children have been organized for several days as a wood-piling brigade, and our cellars are gradually being filled with the wood which was cut last winter. If they had to do the piling as a matter of necessity, they would probably object violently but when they are all together, it is a game and it just gives added zest to the swim that follows the hard work!
I was very sorry to read of the death of Mr. Charles Warren in Washington at the age of 86. He had contributed much to the greater understanding of our legal system and, even at 86, he is a great loss to the country.