"Work of National Importance"

"Work of National Importance"

Excerpts from "Work of National Importance," by Leonard Boehs:


“In spite of the fect [sic] that Soil Condervation [sic] was Work of National Importance it seemed to me that work in a Mental Hospital would be more so. And adding to that I have always liked people, and surely in a Mental Hospital a person would meen [sic] all kinds of people I chose to spend the rest of my C.P.S. days in a Hospital for Mentally Ill.”

“…I shall not soon forget going through Pellow Cottage, it being the first time that I had ever been in a place like it. Female patients that had been here for quite some time, ant [sic] it did seem as if they were in a condition that would cause them to remain here for the rest of their lives. Some were in the nude and just stairing [sic] into space, other had only gowns on, and then would take them off and throw them at us as we went by, other were screaming, and trying to get through the doors as we went through. The oder [sic] was so strong that we would gladly put a handerchief [sic] to our nose. Was this the kind of people that I was to work with? Well even so I was still gald [sic] that I was here.”

“…Getting back to the ward the Charge attandent [sic] told me to take three patinets [sic] and have them wash some windows, this I did, but found that one of the patients would do nothing. The charge attandent (a state employee who had no conseration [sic] for mental Illness) had the Idea that the man should work reguarless [sic], so he got a restraint strap and began to beat the patinet [sic], me being new had nothing to say, but after the patient had been whipped for some time he still would not work, so he was left alone till in the afternoon, when the same thing happened again. I knew that I would have to handle patients with more consideration than that.”

“…During the six weeks that I worked on the ward (MR2) I found that being friendly and kind to the patients was the only easy way to get along with them.”

“…Back to Insulin Tharopy [sic] again I had to take the pulse of all male patients every fifteen minutes, had to restrain all male patients to the bed to keep them from falling out of the bed during the treatment. The first morning I took the patients to the third floor to take their treatment I had a new patient a big negro to take up for his first treatment, he refused to go with me. I told the Dr. about it, he said ‘come with me.’ We went and got another attandent [sic], an ex-boxer. We took the patient by the arms and by one of us pushing the patient we got him up to the Insulin room. Then the patient said something that the ex-boxer did not like and he struck the patient in the chest, the fight was on. The negro came out on top and was beating the attandent [sic] in the face, all there was left for me to do was to pull the patient off the attandent [sic], I did so and told the attandent [sic] that I would take of the patient my self, the patient stood still while I put restraints on him. That was the first time I had the chance to proove [sic] that patients are human and as long as they are treated with kindness they will in turn be kind. A number of times patients have told that they were going to knock my block off, and some times I expected them to see what they could do about it. But I found that by telling them that they could hit me if they wanted to I would not hit back and had no intension [sic] to hurt them in any way they would soon calm and be friendly again. Many of them would apologize for getting angry.”

“…Working in the Receiving Hospital I got to see all new patients, and I found that Mentally Ill patinets [sic] are just like all other people only more so.”

“…During the ten months I spent at Cleveland State Hospital I attended staff meeting at every opertunity [sic], and as many Clinics as I had a chance, I found the staff was glad to have the employees learn all they could about the mentially [sic] ill, because the more a person knows about these unfortunate people the more he is in a position to help them. The one difference I found between the State attandent [sic] and the C P S Men was that the state employee thred [sic] to do all he could to make it easy for himself and the C P S man tried to make the patient comfortable.”

“…There is something about a Mental hospital that makes one feel like doing a good job. When one sees patients come in a very disturbed condition and in a few months go home feeling well again, it goves [sic] one a feeling that this is really WORK OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE.”


--Taken from "Personal Experiences," folder 14/22, series IX-13-1. MCC Records Collection, Akron, PA.