Stimulating Public Interest -- Johnstone 207
extent and menace of feeble-mindedness and to suggest and initiate methods for its control and ultimate eradication from the American people,"[superior 12] and another which proposes "To aid and encourage work for the conservation of mental health and for improvement in the treatment of those suffering from nervous or mental diseases or mental deficiency."[superior 13]
Let us pause just here to say that the need of research is imperative. If this country is to meet this problem adequately it must not be satisfied to care for those who chance to come to the attention of public officials. We must reach to the heart of the trouble.
We must know what feeble-mindedness really is; what causes it; how far it is inheritable; just what part syphilis, alcoholism, tuberculosis, etc. play; what effect faulty metabolism has; what part the different grades or types of feeble-minded may safely have in community life; what really happens when good roads, railroads and other civilizing influences come into the districts formerly given over to degenerate defectives. We need methods by which the feeble-minded may easily be recognized. We need places - many of them - where children may be studied and examined so that those who [begin italics]are[end italics] feeble-minded may be so declared and steps be taken for their protection and care and those who are questionable, but are normal, may be recognized at once.
This great National Conference draws together those engaged in social work of every character. Not one of these workers rounds out his year without finding feeble-mindedness forced to his attention. Therefore I ask that you take definite steps to stimulate interest in the feeble-minded in your own community, your commonwealth and throughout the nation.
Departments of Research should be established in every institution in the country. Here should be made a complete study of each child. The investigator must determine the peculiar mental content of each mind. He already suspects that a case of hereditary feeble-mindedness differs in it content from a case of the same grade which is due to disease or to accident. He has found a different reaction to his tests upon the part of the child who is simply feeble-minded and the one whose condition is complicated by a psychosis. He sees that their associa-