Domestic 'Peace Corps' Weighs PBH As Model

A project based on PBH Mental Hospitals work may be the model for the mentai health program of President Kennedy's "Domestic Peace Corps." The project has been included in a report submitted to the office of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy '48.

The report was written by Milton R. Greenblatt, director of research of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center; David Kantor, research associate in Social Relations; and Terrence Murphy '63, former chairman of the PBH Mental Hospitals Committee.

Greenblatt and Murphy were summoned to Washington over the weekend by Attorney General Kennedy. They discussed the PBH volunteer program in mental health with the President's fact-finding committee on a "National Service Corps." Other members of the committee who attended the meeting included Cabinet members Orville Freeman, Willard Wirtz, Stuart Udall, and Luther Hodges.


Murphy pointed out that at present the final acceptance of the plans is "very tentative." He did note, however, that the request to write the model program came after his discussion with the fact-finding committee. CRIMSON sources revealed today that President Kennedy will include the National Service Corps in his Jan. 10 State of the Union Message to the country.

"Catalytic Agents"


The program as proposed by Greenblatt, Kantor, and Murphy would have corpsmen trained in the present PBH program, which is affiliated with the Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham. The corpsmen would then establish volunteer programs in Waltham, Worcester, and Northampton.

Murphy emphasized that the program would not involve "hiring" corpsmen to do volunteer cork. Rather, they would be "catalytic agents," coordinators who in a 2-to-5 year period, would establish volunteer programs with the resources of a particular community. These resources would include local colleges and universities, high schools, fraternal organizations, church groups, and "golden-age" groups.

Thus the purpose of the program is to organize community efforts, so that when the corpsmen leave, "they will have left an influence on community attitudes which greatly facilitates the return of patients to the community." More important, stressed Murphy, is that the corpsmen leave a volunteer structure which the community and institution can administer by themselves.

Among the statistics which were presented to the President's Committee were those which compared two wards at the hospital in Waltham. At the end of two years, more than two-thirds of the patients visited by PBH volunteers were granted "grounds privileges," and some were placed in case-aid (individual work) programs. Those in the unvisited ward "regressed even further."