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DOTH satisfaction and concern will be felt by those studying the annual report of the Department of Mental Hospitals, which has been presented to the House of Representatives. The forecast of the DirectorGeneral, made at the beginning of the war, that there was no reason to anticipate anything but a small incidence of mental disorders among soldiers, has been borne out by experience, and the conclusion cannot be avoided that this satisfactory result has been achieved,, to a great extent, through the standard of medical examinations of recruits before mobilisation. It is known that the incidence of mental disorders in some of our Allies' armies has not been as low as our sown, and the credit for New Zealand's good record must go to the experts who watched over the men, before and during their service. On the other hand the report reveals serious, even alarming, shortages of accommodation and staff. These are matters requiring the most drastic Government action. Provision of labour and materials will in time produce adequate buildings, but the problem of securing trained medical men will not be easily settled.

The urgency of the situation is made clear by the Director-General's statement that eight assistant medical officers, who have been attracted away from the service since the beginning of the war, have not been replaced. At the same time the Department is receiving steadily increasing demands for psychiatric service outside the mental hospitals, and there seems every possibility that this trend will continue. The strain of the war will be felt by ex-servicemen and civilians for years, and in some cases will manifest itself in the form of psycho-neurosis! Dr. Gray is reassuring in his statement that psycho-neuroses caused by war are, for the most part, reactive in character, and require simpler treatment than those arising from peacetime conditions. But to give effective treatment the doctor must be specially 'qualified, and the Government should take immediate steps to engage men who' have the necessary training, whether they are practising in New Zealand or other parts of the world.

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Bibliographic details

MORE PSYCHIATRISTS NEEDED, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 186, 8 August 1945

Word Count

MORE PSYCHIATRISTS NEEDED Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 186, 8 August 1945

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