Title and statement of responsibility area
Canadian Mental Health Association fonds
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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)
Dates of creation area
1918-1984, predominant 1918-1960 (Creation)
Physical description area
ca. 16 m of textual records ca. 1650 photographs : b&w 1 audio cassette
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Archival description area
Name of creator
The Canadian National Committee for Mental Hygiene was formed in Ottawa on April 26, 1918. On December 1, 1926, the National Committee was legally incorporated under Letters Patent filed with the federal government. The objectives of what is now the Canadian Mental Health Association were enumerated. They continue to advocate for the best possible care, treatment and rehabilitation of the mentally ill; to strive to prevent mental illness and mental disability; to promote research into their causes, treatment and prevention; to protect and promote mental health and in execution of the foregoing to secure the support of the public and to co-operate with other agencies both professional and lay, and to urge governments at all levels to take legislative and financial action to further these objectives. Programmes of research on the development and education of children, parent education, teacher training, mental health in industry, and the management and reduction of stress have characterized the activities of the organization since the early years. The name of the organization was changed in 1950 to the Canadian Mental Health Association. In the late 1970s the organization referred to itself as Mental Health Canada in keeping with the new style of names for federal government ministries, however; the name was not legally changed and as the Association was confused with federal government offices, the Canadian Mental Health Association was reinstated as the operating as well as the legal name. Dr. Clarence M. Hincks was the driving force behind the organization. He served as Secretary from 1918 to 1920, acted as the Associate Medical Director from 1920 to 1924 when he became Medical Director. Finally, he served as the General Director from 1926 to 1952. Between 1930 and 1939, Hincks functioned as General Director of both the Canadian and the American National Committees for Mental Hygiene. Dr. John D.M. Griffin followed Hincks as General Director. He was appointed in 1952 and served until his retirement in 1971. Dr. Griffin was succeeded by George Rohn.
The records were retained by the National Office of the Canadian Mental Health Association until 1983, when they were transferred to the Archives of Canadian Psychiatry, then incorporated into the CAMH Archives in 2000.
Scope and content
Fonds consists of correspondence, minutes, photographs, briefs, studies, reports, committee papers, scrapbooks and memorabilia created or received by the CMHA's National Office. There are many gaps in the early administrative records of the organization. Photocopies of minutes of the Board of Directors from 1928 until 1949 were integrated into the fonds. The fonds includes the minutes and related papers of the various councils and committees of the CMHA including the Scientific Planning Council and the Committee on Mental Health Services (Tyhurst Committee). Various surveys and special projects conducted by the Association are documented in the records. Provincial surveys of mental institutions carried out between 1918 (Manitoba) and 1947 (Newfoundland) were very influential on national policies. Other surveys and related material in the fonds are the British Columbia survey of mental health resources carried out by the American Psychiatric Association in 1958-59 and the Toronto Psychiatric Survey in the early 1940s. Material from several studies conducted by the CMHA is found in the fonds, including the Regal Road School Study, 1929 - 1933 and the Shy and Recessive Children Study, 1937 - 1957. Anti-psychiatry campaigns of the 1950s and 1960s in Canada and the United States are also documented. Fonds consists of the following series: Biographical files Clinics Committee on Psychiatric [Mental Health] Services (Tyhurst Committee) Correspondence General Director - Clarence M. Hinks Historical Materials International Committee for Mental Hygiene Minutes National Committee for Mental Hygiene (United States) National Inter-Agency Recreation Project Pamphlets Photographs Public Policy Files General Director - George Rohn papers Scrapbooks Submissions to Government Studies and Reports Surveys Task Force on Organizational Development
Immediate source of acquisition
Language of material
Script of material
Location of originals
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Restrictions on access
Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication
Finding aid available; file level control; item level control for graphic materials.
Many CMHA publications may be found in the Archives' Special Bibliographic Collection.
Further accruals are expected.
Fonds also includes some promotional posters and drawings. Includes photoprints, photonegatives and contact sheets.
Most of the text is in English; some biographical files and provincial surveys in French
Title based on contents of fonds