Mental Hygiene in Public Health

by Paul V. Lemkau, M.D., Professor of Public Health Administration, Division of Mental Hygiene, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins University (on leave as Director of Mental Health Services, New York City Community Health Board). Second Edition, 486 pages, New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1955. $8.00

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This is an excellent presentation of the role of mental hygiene of the individual in public health programs. The book is very comprehensive and is presented in two parts. The first part discusses the place of mental hygiene in public health and the second the development of the individual in our society. Slightly more than twice the space is devoted to the second part (255 pages). The author comments on the need for generalizations in the field so we may build up a valid body of knowledge on the public health aspects of mental illness. He comments on the difficulties in making generalizations on studies of the development of individuals.

Dr. Lemkau points out that the environmental stresses working on any individual may be modified in many instances, and that personality structure may also be modified but that this latter is a more prolonged and difficult task.

He discusses the prevention of mental illness as consisting of several factors among them the promotion of mental and general health, the prevention of brain damage, and preparation of persons to meet stresses.