The PBH mental hospitals committee will soon embark on a novel program for the rehabilitation of discharges from mental institutions.
"We want to get away from occupational therapy by utilizing the innate creativity of these people," said Hammond Kroll, who is personally financing the project.
Kroll, who opened a fabric shop on Mass. Ave. in late September, will devote all his profits to the establishment of a design workshop. The workshop, which will design industrial models "of everything that goes into the home," will provide "a creative atmosphere" in which former mental patients can be gainfully employed, Kroll said.
Since he opened the shop, Kroll has already made enough money to purchase a $700 loom, and he plans to kick off the workshop officially today with a sale of specially priced materials donated by mills from all over the country.
Half of the royalties the workshop receives for its industrial models will be donated to PBH's Wellmet Program, a project which attempts to reintegrate mental hospital discharges with society. In addition, people from the Wellmet group will be employed at the workshop.
Kroll, who left Columbia University in 1922, came to Harvard from his cattle ranch in Peru in 1962 to get his B.A. through extension courses. While writing a paper for a psychology course on the topic "After Mental Hospitals: What?", Kroll became acquainted with the Wellmet project. His interest in the work being done through the PBH program eventually grew into his present "creative rehabilitation" plan.
Allan R. Liebgott '66, co-chairman of the mental hospitals committee, last night termed Kroll's enterprise "an excellent example of what an individual without professional training can do to help solve the problem of mental illness in America."