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ORGANIZATION OF A WARD FOR ADOLESCENTS IN BELLEVUE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL
Frank J. Curran
Am J Psychiatry 1939;95:1365-1388.
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The Psychiatric Division of Bellevue Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, New York University Medical School, New York City

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Abstract

In this communication, an effort is made to describe the formation of a ward for adolescent boys (the majority being nonpsychotic behavior problems) in Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital. A description is given of the various types of group activities used on the ward to diagnose and treat these children. Certain statistical data regarding types of cases, diagnoses and disposition is offered.A description is given of various phenomena observed on the ward including: aggressive and destructive behavior, organization of gangs, initiation ceremonies, sexual activities and attitudes, and the adjustment of behavior problems with psychotic patients. A description is given as to disciplinary measurements used here. Since we have organized various group activities, we have reduced the destructive behavior to a very large extent.We wish to emphasize that we are still in the experimental stage and that we frequently change our rules and attitudes toward such problems as discipline, smoking activities, etc. We are in agreement with Potter who wrote: "Above all, one cannot run a children's service by rules and regulations. The arrangements must be kept elastic and all those involved should thoroughly understand that which is planned for and put into operation today may well have to be discarded tomorrow."In conclusion, we believe that the majority of adolescent behavior problems are not properly diagnosed or treated in clinics, but should be observed in hospitals. We believe that one can really evaluate an adolescent patient only when he is exposed to the same types of situations he faces in the community, i. e., in school, theatre and at play. We believe similar wards for adolescents should be organized in other psychiatric hospitals and that special wards for adolescents should be opened in state hospitals.

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