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Am J Psychiatry 1965;121:746-751.
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Commissioner of Mental Health Services, City of New York, and Director, N. Y. City Community Mental Health Board

Chief Res. Scientist, Beh. Sciences, N. Y. City Community Mental Health Board

Associate Professor of Administrative Medicine, Columbia Univ. School of Public Health and Administrative Medicine

1960 by The American Psychiatric Association

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Some findings from a survey of the public image of mental health services in New York City reveal that: 1. A majority of New Yorkers claim personal acquaintance with one or more persons who have been under professional care for mental problems. 2. Half of all adults report personal problems which they believe might have been helped by outside services. 3. The public image of the psychiatrist is confused on some points—nearly half the public does not know that the psychiatrist is a doctor of medicine. 4. Fewer New Yorkers know psychiatrists as friends or acquaintances than know other physicians, dentists, and nurses. 5. Psychiatrists are identified as professionals best able to deal with mental troubles; social workers are regarded as best able to deal with family troubles. 6. In the public's view, psychiatrists trists are deemed as interested in their patients and as successful in helping them as are other medical specialists. 7. Most persons believe that state mental hospitals serve to "protect the community," even if patients may not get better there. 8. Many regard state mental hospitals as being most like prisons, TB sanitoria or nursing homes; a minority of the public thinks of them as most like general hospitals. 9. More persons think the quality of care in a state mental hospital is "good" than think it "poor." However, the proportion who believe the quality of care is "good" in a state mental hospital is less than the proportion who believe that care is "good" in a general hospital. 10. Three in 4 say they are willing to have ex-mental hospital patients as co-workers and neighbors; but only 1 in 4 is willing to share an apartment with, or have someone in his family marry, an ex-mental hospital patient. 11. Community mental health services which provide quick assistance, such as telephone answering services, psychiatric emergency, and "walk-in" clinics, are generally approved by a larger proportion of the public than those which bring mental patients into relatively close contact with the community, such as family foster care and so-called day, night and open mental hospitals. Notwithstanding the latter, neighborhood aftercare and rehabilitation services for ex-mental hospital patients are also highly approved.

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