CPS Unit No. 78, a Mental Hospital unit at Colorado Psychopathic Hospital in Denver, Colorado operated by Mennonite Central Committee, opened in January 1943 and closed in March 1946. The men worked as ward attendants.
Directors: Albert Ewert, Roy Diener
Ten men arrived on January 16, 1943. Five others arrived later.
Assignees preformed the duties of ward attendants, assuming responsibility for assistance in the control of violent patients. The hospital needed fifteen attendants in the male ward in order to meet the standard of safety and security.
Since staffing levels had dropped, CPS men supplied this assistance. The first men to arrive attended an orientation that included thirty hours of lectures and classes on the hospital, patient issues and treatment.
The Associate Director of Nursing Services at the hospital noted that the dependability and co-operation of the men not only “helped to keep this hospital operating at its usual high level of service in the community”, but also that the “good care given our patients by this group” made it possible to make it through those war years. (Gingerich p. 227)
For more information on this unit and other mental health and training school units, see Melvin Gingerich, Service for Peace: A History of Mennonite Civilian Public Service. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee printed by Herald Press, Scottdale, PA 1949, Chapter XVI, pp. 213-251.
See also Alex Sareyan, The Turning Point: How Persons of Conscience Brought About Major Change in the Care of America’s Mentally Ill. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1994.
Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.
For more in depth treatment of the mental health and training school units, see Steven J. Taylor, Acts of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009.