IMGP6607 -1str1stpffwlconvibstr

IMGP6607 -1str1stpffwlconvibstr

IMGP6607 -1str1stpffwlconvibstr

The Sick Kids Centre for Community Mental Health (CCMH) at 440 Jarvis Street. In the gay village. This facility was originally the C.M. Hincks Treatment Centre which opened in 1967 and dealt with children and adolescents. Then, in 1998, it became the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre. Finally, in February 2017, it became affiliated with the Sick Kids Hospital and took on its present name. Toronto, Canada. Spring afternoon, 2020.
Pentax K1 II.

1954 Article on psychiatrist Clare Hincks:…

The Amazing Career of Clare Hincks
August 1 1954 SIDNEY KATZ

The Amazing Career of Clare Hincks


Wheedling half a billion dollars from rich men and governments Toronto’s Doctor Hincks made “mental health” a household term and won lasting fame. Yet since his teens he’s been seriously neurotic himself

HARRY (RED) FOSTER, a salesman who can sell so well that he climbed to the presidency of a Toronto advertising agency, is convinced that the greatest salesman and promoter of our age is not a businessman or a huckster but a doctor. His choice for this accolade—and it is shared by many top industrialists is Clarence Meredith Hincks, a tall, slightly stooped, bushy-browed 69-year-old Toronto psychiatrist.

For forty years Dr. Hincks, founder and consultant of the Canadian Mental Health Association (formerly National Committee for Mental Hygiene) has promoted good mental health with an intensity and zeal found only among religious missionaries. He has won countless battles on behalf of the mentally ill despite a crippling handicap: Hincks himself is a neurotic. For 53 of his 69 years, he has suffered from attacks of mental depression which last anywhere from six weeks to several months.

In spite of this, he has been able, in the interests of mental hygiene, to beg, cajole, flatter, threaten, bluff, scheme, manipulate, work twenty hours a day and travel several million miles. “I’m jealous of almost every dollar and every hour’s research spent on any other problem except mental health,” Hincks admits.

A ballad written about Hincks by a colleague contains t he lines:

Unlike other prophets who care not for gold,

Clare Hincks has a greed that, is quite uncontrolled.

Of the pickpockets college he ought to be Dean,

But it’s all in the interests of Mental Hygiene.

Hincks has collected at least $500 millions for mental health in the United States and Canada from ordinary citizens, millionaires, charitable foundations and governments. Dr. D. G. McKerracher, Saskatchewan’s director of mental-health services, describes Hincks as the sort of man “who can induce a millionaire to give a million dollars, then break down and weep because he can’t afford another million.”

Examples of Hincks’ persuasiveness are legion. Once, when his train was stuck in a snowdrift for several hours, a fellow passenger asked him what business he was in. Hincks the proselytizer went into action describing the plight of the mentally ill languishing in hospitals and the need to prevent mental illness. When he was finished, the stranger said, “Please accept a contribution of $3,000 for your organization on behalf of myself and my two sisters.”

Hincks so deeply impressed Sir Edward Beatty with the need of a mental-health program that Beatty invited him to dine at the Mount Royal Club in Montreal and repeat his story to a half-dozen wealthy friends like Herbert Molson, the brewer, and J. G. McConnell, the publisher. You have ten minutes to tell your story,” said Beatty. Hincks chose to speak just after the first drink. (“If you start earlier your listeners aren’t relaxed enough; if you wait for the second drink, they’re too relaxed.”) Within three minutes after he sat down, his fellow diners had pledged $100,000 to t he CM HA.

It was not long after this that Hincks, after doing a superb selling job on a fairly well-to-do Montreal widow, was compelled to spend an hour persuading her to cut her contribution from $50,000 down to $25,000. “I never take advantage of a person’s excessive sympathy with a cause,” says Hincks. The widow’s husband had died of mental illness.

In the course of a taxicab ride between New York City and nearby White Plains, he obtained the promise of a $150,000 grant from Beardsley Ruml, then head ol the Rockefeller Foundation. He was chiefly instrumental in persuading another Rockefeller president, Max Mason, to spend $200 million on mental hygiene in North America. (At the time Hincks was director of both the CMHA and its American equivalent, the National Committee for Mental Hygiene.) A poor man himself, Hincks has always derived enjoyment out. of raising money for his chosen cause. “There’s as much thrill fishing for money as fishing for trout,” says Hincks.

One particularly thrilling episode occurred in t he late 192 )s when Canada was in danger of losing her prize stalde o psychologists —Professors William Blatz, Ned Bott, avi Ketchum, William Line, S. N. F. Chant and others. Working for the newly formed University of Toronto department of psychology, these men could barely make ends meet even though Hincks had them on the part-time payroll of the CMHA. A crisis was reached when Yale University offered to hire the entire Toronto team at twice their salaries. Hincks met the threat by advising the scientists to beg, borrow or steal all the cash they could. With $12,000 in his pocket, he went to Montreal to see his friend, J. G. McConnell, the publisher and financier. “I have $12,000 here belonging to some of my young scientists,” explained Hincks. “You’re supposed to be the wisest investor in Canada. I want you to take this money and increase its value quickly.” Within six months McConnell parlayed the $12,000 to $50,000. The psychologists stayed in Canada.

According to Hincks, a good part of his success has been clue to a remarkable partnership he has had with Marjorie Keyes for the past 38 years. She came to work for him as a young nurse and since then has become, in Hincks’ words, “my super-secretary, my business partner and my psychiatrist.” Her contacts and experience rank her as one of Canada’s top authorities in the field of mental health.

Hincks’ deeds and words during the past forty years have exerted such a tremendous influence that it is no exaggeration to term him one of our greatest living citizens. When he appeared on the Canadian scene in the 1910s, mental illness was a loathsome shameful disease; mental hospitals were secretive “lunatic asylums”; mental patients were doomed to die “mad”; mental hospitals were staffed by muscle-bound goons who often shackled and beat their patients. Psychiatry was the closed secret of a few “asylum” doctors and there were no psychiatric clinics. The mentally retarded were ignored ; they became prostitutes, thieves, the victims of venereal disease or indigents. Nobody was thinking about mental health in a positive way or the rich benefits which might be harvested from research.

More than any other Canadian, Clare Hincks changed all that.

In 1910, when he was an impoverished young doctor, he persuaded the Toronto Star to assign him to a medical convention in Buffalo where a new technique for measuring intelligence was to be introduced to North America by a couple of European scientists. Returning to Toronto, he began using these procedures on children, thus becoming the first Canadian to use the IQ test. The acceptance of the tests, along with many years of crusading, led to the establishment of scores of training schools and special classrooms for the mentally retarded.

In 1917, Hincks and Dr. C. K. Clarke opened the first psychiatric clinic in Canada; today there are 77 of them. He started the Canadian Mental Health Association in 1918 and for several years went storming through mental hospitals from coast to coast in an effort to obtain more humane treatment for the patients by educating, pleading, flattering and sometimes threatening government officials and hospital authorities.

For eight years Hincks was director of the American equivalent of the CMHA, thus making him responsible for progress in mental health in the area between the Mexican border and the Arctic Circle. During this period he commuted between New York and Toronto. On the New York-Toronto run he generally carried a fat cheque from some American charitable foundation to finance some current project. On the Toronto-New York trip he invariably had hidden in his luggage several bottles of the finest Canadian rye whisky which he used to entertain his prohibition-starved benefactors in New York. “Progress in mental health owes a great deal to smuggled Canadian whisky,” Hincks admits without shame.

Before Hincks, psychiatrists were almost exclusively devoted to the treatment of the psychotic and neurotic. Hincks hammered away at the necessity of preventing mental illness and was the first man in the world to popularize the term mental health. He obtained the funds to start a project which later developed into the Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto. He placed in charge of it William Blatz. a young Canadian doctor who was studying the behavior of rats at the University of Chicago as part of a PhD course in psychology. The Rockefeller Foundation, which was paying the shot, was doubtful about Blatz because of his youth and lack of experience. “If he’s your choice then heaven help you!” they warned him. Hincks was adamant. Blatz’ contributions to our knowledge about child development are today recognized throughout the world.

The Toronto Psychiatric Hospital, where the University of Toronto trains j psychiatrists and conducts research, is ! largely a Hincks creation. A picture of him hangs in the Crease Clinic at j Burnaby B.C.—the most modern treatment centre in Canada where 89 percent of all mental patients are returned to the community in a matter of months. He is thus honored because of the role he played in the clinic’s birth, as “inspirer” and “encourager.” Hincks has sparked literally thousands of projects relating to the treatment, prevention and research phases of mental illness and health.

A Fist on the Vice-Regal Desk

A poor advocate for himself, Hincks is fearless when pleading for the mentally ill. He is probably the only Canadian doctor ever to bang the table in anger at viceroyalty and threaten to report them to the boss. This happened in 1948. Hincks had gone to St. John’s, Nfld., and found the local mental hospital in shocking condition. He promptly called on the island’s governor, Sir Gordon MacDonald. (Before Newfoundland joined Canada, expenditures had to be approved by the governor.) He pleaded with the governor to authorize funds to erase what he called, “a blot on humanity.” MacDonald made it clear that he had no such intention. Thereupon Hincks advanced on the governor’s desk, smashed the hard surface several times with his fist and angrily shouted, “Your Excellency leaves me only one course. Tomorrow I’m flying to London to report you to Mr. Attlee and Mr. Bevan (Prime Minister and Minister of Health, respectively). I know that both are humanitarians and will want to do the right thing.” His Excellency blinked surprisedly for several seconds and then capitulated.

Hincks infiltrated into Ottawa’s Rideau Hall and got Lady Willingdon so enthused about mental health that she told him, “I’ll stand at the corner of Bank and Sparks Streets begging with a tin cup if it will do you any good.” Lady Byng once agreed to address a public mental-health meeting at Hincks’ request. When the Governor-General caught word of it a few hours before the meeting he was furious. “What are you trying to do, Hincks—make an actress of my wife!” he fumed. The incident ended with Byng, a strong believer in the doctrine that woman’s place is in the home, pinch-hitting on the platform for his spouse.

Once, as a favor to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who was a liberal supporter of mental health, Hincks played a crucial role in a fight between Rockefeller and another financier over control of Standard Oil of Indiana. The persuasive Hincks helped turn the tide in favor of Rockefeller by personally canvassing Canadian shareholders and rounding up their proxies.

The first impression created by Hincks is such that he would never be mistaken for a supersalesman. His dress, appearance and voice are homey. His manner is humble and apologetic. “Clare has apologized his way to I success,” says Dr. D. G. McKerracher, director of Saskatchewan’s mental| health services. When he first arrived in New York to take over the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, the philant hropist Edwin Embree took him aside and said, “You’ll never get any where here unless you change your style. In New York you have to put on a bold aggressive front.” Yet under Hincks in the heart of the depression the organization attracted unparalleled support. “Perhaps people help me because they’re sorry for me,” says Hincks.

His associates on the other hand regard his remarkable sincerity as the prime factor in his success. “Hincks is never out selling for himself,” says Philip Fisher, of Southam Press, a member of the CMHA board. “He’s really interested in helping other people. That’s what comes through.”

“Wouldn’t Employ Himself”

Another reason for Hincks’ success is his ability to make people feel good in his presence. “A fifteen-minute visit with him is an emotional tonic,” says Dr. Baruch Silverman, director of the Mental Hygiene Institute, Montreal. Hincks unconsciously achieves this effect by constantly recognizing his visitor’s strong points and achievements and belittling his own. “I’m not the kind of person I’d employ,” he often says. “All my life I’ve been carried along on the shoulders of people much abler than I.”

This pattern of self-depreciation is so ingrained that Hincks has always felt guilty about accepting his CMHA salary, in spite of the fact that it has never risen beyond $9,000 a year, less than most general practitioners earn. To ease his conscience, for several years Hincks would go on an annual job-seeking tour. When he satisfied himself that there were private businesses, governments and philanthropic foundations anxious to have him on the payroll at salaries up to $30,000, he would contentedly settle back into his I poorer-paying job for another twelve I months.

Hincks’ own modest view of himself ; has not been modified by the fact that ! he’s a graduate of the University of S Toronto medical school; a member of I the Royal College of Physicians and I Surgeons; a fellow of the American ! Psychiatric Association; an honorary member of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association; a founder and member of the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry and the

American Orthopsychiatric Association; member of the exclusive Comité d’Honneur of the World Federation of Mental Health; the first recipient of the award offered by the Mental Hygiene Institute, Montreal, and chairman of the Fifth International Congress on Mental Health to be held in Toronto next month. “You don’t earn these honors,” he says. “You get them by living a few years longer than the next fellow.”

No formal honors or titles, however, indicate Hincks’ tremendous ability to put himself in the other fellow’s shoes. Because others sense this quality in him, he has, throughout his lifetime, been called on to help people in almost every conceivable situation. When Sir Edward Beatty’s beloved ship the Empress of Britain was sunk during the war, it was when he was alone with Hincks that he broke down and wept, confessing how much the ship meant to him. An American millionaire consulted Hincks about his college daughter because she failed her grades and her behavior was promiscuous. “Send her to me,” said Hincks. He enrolled her at the University of Toronto, introduced her to agreeable companions and kept an eye on her. She graduated with high honors a few years later and went on to contract a successful marriage.

One afternoon, not long ago, Hincks received a frantic phone call from a drama director. “I’m in a mess,” he said. “Our play opens tonight and our leading man has been fast asleep for fourteen hours and we can’t get him up. Please help us.” A few minutes later, Hincks was working over the prone figure of a handsome six-footer, about 35 years old, in a fashionable apartment in the Bathurst-Eglinton district in North Toronto. The actor’s heart, temperature and pulse being normal, Hincks assumed that his soporific sleep was a flight from the anxieties of an opening night. For five minutes, Hincks slapped the actor and drenched him with cold water. When he showed signs of awakening a highly suggestible state—Hincks began admonishing him in a firm, quiet voice, “You will be wide awake in five minutes, completely refreshed . . . tonight you will give a brilliant performance . . . your work will be so outstanding that you will carry along the rest of the company with you.” The next day, the dramatic critics were unanimous in their high opinion of the leading man. A few months later he appeared in the Stratford, Ont., Shakespearean Festival and acquitted himself nobly.

Hincks believes that his ability to identify with other people is, in a largo part, due to the fact that he himself is a neurotic. “Most psychiatrists are as mentally healthy as the average citizen,” he says. “I happen to he an exception.” During the worst of his depressed periods Hincks tends to he uncommunicative, gloomy and worried about small details and there’s a partial paralysis of his thinking. “I never see a mental patient in hospital but that I can put myself in his place,” says Hincks. “I feel that I’m tarred by the same brush. My knowledge of psychiatry comes from the inside—from mv own personal suffering. Physical pain is like a pinprick compared to mental anguish.” Yet, in spite of this grave handicap, Hincks has been able to lead an active and productive life. “I’ve learned to accept my neurosis and live with it, the same as I’ve accepted the shape of my nose,” he says.

“My motto has been, know thyself, accept thyself and be thyself.”

He does not regard his handicap as unique. “There are probably 500,000 neurotics in Canada,” he says. “That makes the neurosis as common as the common cold.”

Because he believes that his experiences as a neurotic may be of value to his fellow-sufferers, he answered several pertinent questions in a recent series of interviews:

Q. : Can you remember the circumstances of the first attack of vour neurosis?

A.: I was sixteen years old, a University of Toronto undergraduate, and I was spending a social evening at a friend’s house on St. George Street. As I was playing cards, I suddenly became aware that there was something wrong with me. I had become self-conscious;

I had lost all spontaneity of thought and action, and my world seemed to change in some queer way. When I spoke it was as though someone else were speaking and that I was more of a listener. My usually buoyant mood left me. I was not depressed but I lost the joy of living. I had become conscious of what had been previously automatic actions, such as using my handkerchief, shuffling my cards, moving about on my chair, etc. . . . All these things became uncomfortable to me.

I found it difficult to carry on a conversation, even small talk among intimate friends. There was a paralysis of my thinking; the free association of ideas was blocked. Thus, I was suddenly struck by a condition that ! affected me intellectually and emotionally. This was the attack that was ! to repeat itself each year up till the | present. I am now 69 years old and I have had 53 attacks. It usually comes in late winter or early spring and has lasted as long as four or five months.

Q. : Are the people you come in contact with aware that you are going through a depression period?

A.: One of the things that has constantly amazed me is the way in which outsiders are unaware of what I am going through. Here I am with my entire inner life changed—anxious, wanting to be alone, thinking process j slowed down, no zest for living—yet no j one aware of it except two or three j people who are closest to me. This led me to conclude that human beings are so wrapped up in themselves that we don’t observe anything abnormal in the other fellow unless it’s something obvious like a bad limp or a blackened eye.

Q: Can you supply any other evidence to prove that people, as a rule, fail to recognize mental disorders among their fellows?

A.: Well, I have known people to visit mental hospitals and be unable to distinguish between staff and patients, unless staff wore their uniforms.

My former chief, Dr. C. K. Clarke, noted this on many occasions and once ¡ conducted an experiment. At the time, he was professor of psychiatry at | Queen’s University and superintendent j of Rock wood Mental Hospital, in Kingston, Ont. One evening, he invited to his home six leading Queen’s University professors, and without an introduction included one of his patients from the mental hospital.

Everybody had a good time. The conversation was animated and ranged from music, history, world politics, philosophy and science. One of the most active participants was the mental-hospital patient. After two hours of chatting, Clarke arranged for the patient to sit in another room with his own family. Clarke took advantage of this absence to ask the professors what they thought of his guest. They agreed that he was a man of culture, widely read and an interesting conversationalist. They wondered if it was Clarke’s intention to propose this stranger for a Queen’s post. Clarke said, “No, not at present because he happens to be a patient of mine at the mental hospital.” The guests were astonished and outraged and said that he had no right to be in hospital; he was as sane as anybody. Clarke then brought the patient back in and asked him this direct question: “Jim, please tell these gentlemen who you really are?” Jim, slightly displeased by their ignorance, replied, “Why I thought they knew. I am, of course, the strongest man in the world. I am Atlas. I balance the world on my shoulders.”

Q. : What is the difference between a psychosis and a neurosis?

A.: The neurosis is not as serious as the psychosis. And in the neurosis the victim knows he is ill while the psychotic possesses little or no insight. His world has crumbled and everything is out of joint but he does not attribute his troubles to his own lack of mental health. If anybody is sick, it is those about him, not himself. As I have said, my own disability is a neurosis and not a psychosis.

Q : With all the resources of modern medicine and psychiatry is there no cure for a person with your disability?

A.: There is alleviation but I believe no cure. If I were younger and subjected myself to three years of psychoanalysis I might be greatly improved. But I’m afraid this partial cure might be too expensive. I’m not thinking in terms of money but in terms of the job I want to do.

You see, my only job in life is pioneering. To be a pioneer you have to vigorously pursue self-imposed goals without any thought of sparing yourself. You have to walk where angels fear to tread. My present, emotional make-up is particularly suited to do that job. I can work like fury for six months or so of the year during which time I have the drive, the energy and enthusiasm of two men. This highpowered enthusiasm is contagious and enables me to enlist the support of men and women who are much abler than I and can carry out projects that I blueprint. I have a flair for contagious enthusiasm. I was born with it. Therein lies whatever success I’ve had in advancing mental hygiene.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m a race horse, not a truck horse. I’m good for short spurts of speed, not a long haul. When I am completely absorbed in my work, I must work sixteen hours a day. But I pay for il by going into a period of depression. Perhaps that’s nature’s protective device for slowing me down, for giving me an enforced period of rest to regain my energy for the next dash.

Now, if I were to be “cured” by some form of psychotherapy I -would probably be flattened out emotionally. I’d acquire poise and stability. Poised, stable, steady people in certain lines of work are priceless. But in other lines of work—like mine, for instance a touch of neuroticism seems to be essential.

Q. : Have you availed yourself of any psychiatric or medical help for your disability?

A.: I have two psychiatrists, one a man, the other a woman, whom I consult when I’m in a slump. They are both close friends, people whom I am genuinely fond of and who understand me. The principal relief I get is that I don’t have to keep my feelings bottled up. I can talk freely about the way I feel. I derive a feeling of comfort from knowing that I’m not fighting something alone.

Q. : How do you prefer to be treated when you are low?

A.: The best way friends and colleagues can act is not to ask me how I feel because the answer has to be “Like hell!” Up to a point I like to be ignored and taken for granted. I don’t want people to slap me on the back and tell me to cheer up and that everything will be all right. Verbal reassurances don’t do much good. My office colleagues understand all this. Marjorie Keyes, for example, knows exactly how I’m feeling without asking me.

In explaining the personality of Hincks the adult, Hincks’ intimate friends, who include some of the most astute students of human behavior on the North American continent, place particular emphasis on his early family history. He was an only child and he was strongly attached to his mother, a strong, capable and cultured woman who taught school in Hamilton. She married one of her former pupils — the Rev. William Hincks and put him through college. At the time of the marriage, Maudie Greene was forty and William Hincks was 26. “All my life it was as though mother had two sons,” recalls Hincks. Clare Hincks was born in St. Marys, near Stratford, while his father occupied the pulpit of the local Methodist church. When he was nine years old, his father was transferred to Toronto, where he was to serve for fifty years until his death in 1943. Thanks, in large part, to his wife, he was to win wide recognition as a preacher and scholar. Every Sunday morning, he staged spirited attacks on sin in all its guises drinking, smoking, gambling, sex and .Sunday streetcars.

Clare Hincks was promoting and selling things almost as soon as he could walk. At seven he was selling turtles which he had caught in the lagoons around Centre Island, just off Toronto Harbor. At twelve, he served as a barker in the midway of the Canadian National Exhibition. At fourteen, he teamed up with J. W. Bengough, a prominent newspaper political cartoonist, to stage exhibitions in various resort areas in the Muskoka district, north of Toronto.

‘‘A Wastrel, a Drunkard”

When Maudie Hincks died in 1936, practically her last words to her son were, “You and your father are strangers. Try to get to know him.” In fulfillment of his mother’s wishes, he invited his father to accompany him on a boat trip to England. The first night out, Rev. Hincks was shocked to find his son in the lounge smoking and drinking as he played a game of cards with some strangers. He blasted him later, “I didn’t know that I had a son who is a wastrel, a drunkard, a gambler and who keeps evil companions.” Hincks struck a bargain with his father: he would give up cards for the duration of the trip if his father joined him in a few drinks. His father agreed. In the privacy of their cabin, Rev. Hincks sipped a glass of crème de
menthe and reported his sensations in detail. “Now it’s warm in my mouth … I have a hot sensation in my throat . . . it’s going through me like electricity . . . now I feel pleasant, good.” A few minutes later he embarked on another experiment, this time using whisky and soda. His findings were again positive. By the time the ship docked in Southampton, Hincks and his father were close friends -a friendship that lasted until his death.

Hincks undoubtedly inherited from his father the desire to preach and to reform, but not the propensity for formal religious observance. “Some people can’t live without a formal religion; others can’t live with it,” says Hincks. He recalls being summoned to the bedside of a woman dying with tuberculosis. She had one last request to make. “Make sure no clergyman gets near me before I die,” she said. “He might talk me into believing in a life after death. I don’t want to believe that. I can only die in peace, knowing that death ends all.” Hincks finds this woman’s point of view understandable. “Make a good job of living while on earth and the future will take care of itself,” he says. (On the other hand, one of Hincks’ three children is an ordained minister; one daughter is a nurse while the other is a teacher. Hincks was married to Mabel Millrran in 1918, a University of Toronto gold medallist in languages. She died a few years ago.)

Hincks graduated in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1907 with only average marks. For the next ten years, he struggled along in various settings as a general practitioner, finally admitting failure. “I had neither the physical nor mental equipment to make a good GP,” he says. “I couldn’t help people as much as I would have liked to.”

During Hincks’ early days in general practice, infection and tissue damage as a cause of disease were considered to be all-important; the emotions were hardly considered. Yet Hincks knew differently from his own practice, and :his was to spark his interest in mental health. One of his patients was a 55year-old bank manager, who in a moment of weakness had defrauded his firm of $10,000. All his life he had enjoyed good health, but now, facing a public trial and the certainty of a prison sentence, he decided that he no longer wanted to live. He took to his bed and within two weeks he died of “unknown causes.”

Hincks received another lesson in psychosomatic medicine from an 18year-old girl with typhoid fever. Her temperature mysteriously rose to 105 degrees. What had happened? Hincks learned that in performing a test for tuberculosis, the nurse had given the patient the impression that she had TB. He went to the patient’s bedside and talked to her. “You’re lucky,” he said. “Our test shows that you haven’t got TB. You’ve only got typhoid and you’re now on your way to recovery.” Within a few hours her temperature dropped and she staged an uneventful recovery. “Actually,” says Hincks, “typhoid is more dangerous to life than TB but most people—like my patient— didn’t think so.”

As a GP in Toronto, Hincks’ earnings never rose beyond $400 a year. This was largely because he sought to know his patients as “whole people” not just as cases of a disease; he had time to see only a few people a day. He hesitated to send out bills; the man who was later to be a fabulous collector of money simply couldn’t collect money for himself. He regarded his periods of depression as a grave handicap. “During my slumps I had to cut out all but the most urgent calls,” he says. To make ends meet, he took a succession of part-time jobs—life – insurance examiner, embryology demonstrator at the medical school and medical inspector for the West Toronto schools.

This latter job fanned his awakening interest in mental hygiene. He found that at least sixty percent of the children referred to him by teachers and nurses were problems of mental not physical health. He suspected that many of them were mentally retarded but there was no way of proving it. Thus, when he learned about the IQ test, he went rushing off to the medical convention in Buffalo to learn all he could about it. Returning home with this new psychological tool he was able to indicate that many school children (roughly two percent) had an inferior intelligence and required special classes and training.

He got permission to use the IQ test on delinquents in Judge Hawley Mott’s Toronto Juvenile Court. Hincks spent countless hours, serving without pay, carefully studying a long procession of youthful thieves, vandals, truants and runaways. As he had suspected, many of them were mentally retarded. He also threw a great deal of light on children of normal intelligence who go wrong. “Hincks was a blessing to the court,” recalls Mott. “He focused attention on the fact that body, mind and environment all play a part in determining personality. That was a fairly new idea in the 1910s.” Hincks recalls, “I learned about juvenile delinquents as I went along. The boys were my textbooks.”

One of his most profitable volumes was Mickey, a 14-year-old who Mott describes as “the worst kid in town.” Hincks struck up a close friendship with him, pleaded for him in court, stuck by him during a two-year prison sentence, helped him become a star basketball player and salesman. Ultimately, Mickey married and went on to win an important position with a large corporation. “It was a question of understanding the boy, helping him to capitalize on his assets and then keep on having faith in him no matter I what,” explains Hincks.

Word of Hincks’ concern with mental health reached Dr. C. K. Clarke, head of the University of Toronto department of psychiatry, who in 1916 was j planning to open the first psychiatric ^ clinic in Canada. A meeting with Hincks convinced him that he had found the right partner for his new project. They were then joined by Marjorie Keyes, a recently graduated nurse who had won all the medals in her class.

Hincks’ experiences after the clinic j opened its doors struck him like a j thunderbolt. He and his colleagues were | besieged by an army of men, women and children suffering with every j category and shade of mental deficiency and mental illness. Had there been facilities for treatment and research, i many of these people might have been spared their suffering. “It began to dawn on me,” says Hincks, that the promotion of mental health was a field in which I could exploit the one worthwhile asset I possessed—a flair for | contagious enthusiasm.”

After working in the clinic for a year or so, Hincks went to Clarke and announced his intention of quitting. “1 just can’t take it any more,” he said. “At present we’re only bailing out the boat—not plugging the leak. Temperamentally I’m not suited for this kind of work.” He listed his frustrations: no place to send mental patients for treatment; no place to send the mentally retarded for training; no research being undertaken in mental I illness; no mental screening of immigrants, with the result that scores of mental defectives and psychotics were streaming into Canada. “What are you going to do about it?” asked Clarke. Hincks said he was going to go to New York to see what was going on down there.

Punched, Kicked and Kneed

In New York, he met Clifford Beers, secretary of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene (U.S.A.), an organization which he had founded ten ] years earlier in 1908. Beers is the undisputed founder of the mental health movement in North America. This movement was born out of his own personal suffering. A few years after graduating in engineering from Yale University, Beers attempted suicide by leaping from a third-floor window. He ! survived with nothing worse than leg ¡ injuries. For the next three years he was in a number of private and public mental hospitals. In his lucid periods— which grew more frequent with his stay in hospital—he recalled being put in strait jackets, being punched, kicked and kneed by sadistic attendants; being cast into solitary unheated cells. After his recovery and discharge, he set down an account of his experiences in the most moving prose. His book, A Mind that Found Itself, was a sensation and led many wealthy citizens to support Beers with his new organization to improve the lot of mental patients.

After spending the better part of a day chatting, Beers said to Hincks, “I want you to start an organization like mine in Canada.” Hincks was excited. At last he had found a job that he really believed in a crusade on behalf of the mentally ill and for the prevention of mental illness.

He returned to Toronto, burning with a desire to get on with the job. He wangled an audience with the Governor-General, the Duke of Devonshire. “Your Excellency,” he said, “I want you to become the honorary patron of the Canadian Mental Health Association.”

“After what I’ve heard I’ll consider it very favorably,” replied His Excellency. “Have your board of directors send mean invitation.”

“But there is no board,” replied H incks.

“Then have your organizing committee do it.”

“But there is no organizing committee.”

“Well, under those circumstances you had better come back to see me again. It’s against all precedent for me to support a non-existent organization.”

Hincks spent another half hour explaining that if His Excellency didn’t lend his support at once there would probably never be a mental-health organization. Devonshire finally relented. “I’m doing this,” he said, “because you’re a sincere young man and Canada needs your movement."

Hincks made his first appeal for support, after careful thought, in Montreal. After assembling most of the faculty of the McGill University medical school, he delicately exploited the rivalry between Canada’s two greatest medical schools. He said, “I would prefer to inaugurate this national movement at McGill, not Toronto. Toronto is a provincial university; McGill is a national university.” The professors voted their support and Dr Charles Martin, dean of medicine, was elected firsTpresident of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Now Hincks plunged in to get the money. “Give me a list of twenty men in Montreal who have the abilit y to run a railway or a bank,” he asked his friend, Sir William Peterson, principal of McGill. The list he was handed read like a Who’s Who of the financial world of 1918. ft included Lord Shaughnessy and Edward Beatty of the CPR, Sir Vincent Meredith, president of the Bank of Montreal, Sir George Burns, president of the Bank of Ottawa, William Birks the jeweler, Lord Atholstan, Fred Molson and several others.

Within a few days, Hincks had collected several thousand dollars and persuaded a half dozen of the biggest names in Montreal to serve on his board of directors. On his way home to Toronto, he dropped in at Rideau Hall to deliver a progress report .

“Remarkable,” said the Duke of Devonshire, “I don’t see how you got so many important people to serve.”

“It was simple,” replied Hincks. “I announced to everyone 1 contacted that I was coming to see them on your behalf.”

Back in Toronto, he quickly gathered followers by judiciously playing up the support he was receiving from vice royalty and the elite of Montreal. He invited Beers to be the guest speaker at a series of intimate salons held in private homes. The first gathering was held at the Toronto home of Mrs. 1). A. Dunlap, wife of the secretary of Hollinger Mines. When Beers finished speaking, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Within four minutes, a handful of guests subscribed $25,000 for mental health. Beers and Hincks conducted similar parties in Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City.

With his organization established, Hincks now embarked on his first objective: the more humane treatment of mental patients. During the next several years, he was to visit practically every mental hospital in Canada. His boundless energy, his enthusiasm and his radical suggestions soon earned him the title, “the Nut Doctor.” Hincks says, “I gloried in that title. It’s only when I begin to get respectable that 1 know I’ll have to watch my step.”

Manitoba was the first province to be surveyed. Hincks and Marjorie Keyes found some shocking things. In one hospital, they unlocked what appeared to be a coffin standing up on end. Out fell a female patient who had been confined in it for three years. Her skin was chalk-white, her hair was matted and she used her tattered shawl to shield her eyes from the unaccustomed light. He found that at the Brandon Hospital for the Insane, and this was to prove true all over Canada, cages, shackles, strait jackets, muffs, camisoles and other forms of restraint were in common Use. Many patients walked around with bruises, scars and blackened eyes the handiwork of untrained attendants. Segregation and the keeping of records were not regarded as important. “Apparently anybody in Manitoba who wanted to get rid of a member of his family could send him here,” Hincks said of a Portage la Prairie institution.

Hincks was so upset by what he had seen that he went to Winnipeg and showed up at Premier T. C. Norris’ suite at the Royal Alexandra Hotel at six o’clock one evening and demanded an immediate conference. “But I’ve got an important dinner conference followed by a government caucus,” said Norris.

“No business can be more important than mine,” said Hincks. “I’ve seen things in your mental hospitals this past week that could put your government out of power.”

The upshot was that Hincks dined with the premier then sat with the government caucus until 3 a.m. Many of those present were deeply moved. Dr. R. S. Thornton, the Minister of Education, got. up and said, “Gentlemen, we ought to get down on our knees and beg forgiveness. We have been entrusted with the care of the mentally ill and we have failed in our trust.” Shortly after this meeting, Manitoba, acting under Hincks’ guidance, was to spend $2,225,000, completely overhauling her mental-health services.

Ten Cages in an Attic

Hincks found the mental hospitals of the other provinces just about as shocking. In New Brunswick, he found the attic room of one hospital occupied by ten wooden cages, with straw-covered floors, in which patients were kept. The Prince Edward Island mental hospital was a decaying firetrap; no records were kept, no treatment was given and admission procedures were sloppy. He met a perfectly healthy inmate who said, “I only came in to keep mv brother company.” He spoke to a child who had been sent over from a nearby orphanage because the matron complained that “I can’t do anything with him.”

Hincks was not a spectacular muckraker. He never used his explosive facts promiscuously to blackmail or embarrass a government. “I’m never for or against any government,” he would say. “I’m only for mental hygiene.” He would bring his findings directly to the government then try to persuade

them to make reforms. Starting with Manitoba, thanks to Hincks, the various governments of Canada were to spend millions of dollars on improvements. When Edwin Embree of the Rockefeller Foundation accompanied Hincks on a tour of Canadian hospitals, he expected to be greeted by a succession of slammed doors. No such thing happened. “It’s remarkable,” said Embree. “Everywhere you go they treat you like a member of the family.” This friendliness existed because hospital staffs and governments were convinced that Hincks had no personal axe to grind; he was only trying to introduce needed reforms in as friendly and painless a manner as possible.

On his travels Hincks gathered abundant proof that the existing policy of ignoring the mentally retarded was both inhuman and costly. In Alberta he found that 54 percent of the unmarried mothers and 68 percent of the prostitutes were mentally deficient.

Hincks was particularly alarmed by the fact that the mental deficiency in Nova Scotia was 3 percent compared to the Canadian average of only 2 percent. Part of this could be explained by the exodus of many of the province’s fittest citizens to other parts of Canada and to the United States. But equally important was the existence of clusters or “nests” of mental defectives in certain rural areas, due to generations of intermarriage. He visited the homes of fifty adult defectives and kept a careful record. These fifty homes produced 184 mental defectives, 78 illegitimate children and at least 28 delinquents. He studied a single family clan which had produced 25 mental defectives, 4 illegitimates, 19 delinquents and 10 recipients of public assistance. Hincks concluded that “the mentally until breed faster than the fit” and henceforth became a firm advocate of eugenic sterilization.

It was in Nova Scotia that Hincks came across a jail where he found what he often later referred to as a perfect example of working in partnership. The building was spotlessly clean and the half-dozen inmates were oozing contentment. The following conversation ensued between Hincks and a spokesman for the inmates:

“Where’s the warden?” asked Hincks. “He’s away sick.”

“Then who’s running the jail?”

“We are.”

“Have you notified the authorities?” “No.” ‘

“Why not?”

“We don’t want to see him fired. He’s too old, too nice and too sick.” “Won’t any of you run away?”

“Not likely. If we did, people would find out, then the old man would be fired and we’d get a young fellow in charge that we didn’t like.”

Hincks did not remain idle between surveys. By adroit manoeuvring, which involved the Rockefeller Foundation, the University of Toronto, the Ontario Government and the Toronto City Council, he managed to bring into existence the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital, the first training centre in Canada for psychiatric personnel. He took time to encourage a young general practitioner from Oakville by giving him CMHA funds for post-graduate study abroad. And that is how Brock Chisholm, later named director of the World Health Organization, became a psychiatrist. Hincks took an interest in a young medical undergraduate who played saxophone in an orchestra at a university medical affair. Today, Dr. Jack Griffin is the director of the CMHA, the position relinquished by Hincks last year.

With the money he raised, Hincks, through the CMHA, introduced occupational therapy into mental hospitals, helped develop the program of the newly formed University of Toronto psychology department, introduced mental-hygiene courses into schools of social work, provided money to train psychiatrists for Quebec’s schools, promoted mental – hygiene clinics, traveling clinics, initiated studies in feeble-mindedness, normal child development and the mental health of teachers and school children.

To broaden his mental-health knowledge, he started making trips to Europe. In a clinic in Zurich, Switzerland, he admiringly watched the famous psychiatrist Hans Meyer at work. “We need a man like you in America,” Hincks told him, “Would you consider coming over?” Meyer refused. “It’s taken me thirty years to learn something about the background of the people living in the three cantons around Zurich. That’s why 1 can help them. In America 1 would be useless. You can’t transplant a psychiatrist.”

Hincks decided that if he ever were to become psychotic he would like to be sent to Gheel in Belgium. This was the town where he found villagers taking in mental patients as boarders a tradition now live hundred years old. They shared the family’s life. He spoke to a woman, who came to Gheel branded as the most violent, patient ever to enter a Dutch mental hospital. In the relaxed, free atmosphere of the Belgian village she was no problem.

In Munich, Germany, he met Emil Kraepelin, the distinguished psychiatric research worker. Now old and fatigued, he was constantly beset by financial worries. His fifteen brilliant assistants were now working only for the sheer love of scientific research. “I want you to stop worrying,” Hincks told him. “I will send you one million dollars from America.” The Rockefeller Foundation later made good Hincks’ promise. Kraepelin was the man to achieve lasting fame by classifying and describing all the various types of mental illness.

By 1930, Hincks was a well-known figure in medical circles in both Canada and the United States. He helped organize the First International Mental Health Congress. The following year he was invited to assume the directorship of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene (U.S.A.) at a salary of $25,000. He refused to leave his $7,000 post in Canada. After the Americans convinced him that he was needed, he accepted on condition that he could divide his time between New York and Toronto. Instead of accepting the $30,000 or so offered for both jobs he set his salary at $20,000. But even so he was uncomfortable. He finally resolved his problem by not telling his family about the raise and giving away all earnings above his usual $7,000.

Hincks moved in on his New York job like a whirlwind. He raised money, conducted surveys, interested the 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Masons in the Northern Jurisdiction to underwrite research in schizophrenia. Up to this writing, the Masons have probably stimulated the spending of some $50 millions to find the cause and cure of this devastating form of mental illness.

From the very beginning of his stay in New York, Hincks was concerned about the health of Clifford Beers, who was still secretary of the organization. He feared that his old illness was creeping up on him again. He noticed that it took an abnormally long time to explain simple policy matters to Beers. All of this was time-consuming. Finally, Hincks found a way out of the deadlock. “Clifford,” he said, “tell me the name of the man in this world that you have the most confidence in?” Beers mentioned Vic Tyler, an old friend and supporter. Hincks said, “My plan is to take Tyler on staff and the three of us will run the organization by a majority vote.” Accordingly, Tyler was installed in the New York offices.

The procedure devised by Hincks was simple. Whenever he wanted a decision on any matter, he would explain his reasons to Beers and Tyler, then retire and go on with other duties. Tyler, in the meantime, would discuss the matter at great length with Beers. For the next few years, this arrangement worked fairly well with Tyler serving as a full-time “explainer” for Beers.

However, as Beers’ health failed, this system broke down. Beers was reluctant about making any decisions and became rather contentious. The organization’s program bogged down. 11 became so bad that one wealthy benefactor said, “I’ll give you one million dollars on condition that you drop Beers.”

This, of course, was unthinkable. Beers was the living symbol of the mental-health movement. The problem was ultimately solved by a combination of an office reorganization and the natural course of Beers’ illness. He was relieved of as much responsibility as possible. The number of callers was reduced to a minimum. He seemed to be content to sit in his office, arranging papers and clipping items out of newspapers and magazines. For some unknown reason he absolutely refused to grant an audience to any ex-mental patient that called. At times, he attached great importance to trifling things. Once a staff member obliged him by fetching a pair of glasses from the optometrist. Beers examined the lenses closely and detected a few scratches. He exploded violently, accusing Col. Edmund Bullis, a staff member, of deliberately disfiguring his property.

Beers’ condition gradually worsened until he was finally admitted to the Butler Hospital in Providence, R.I., a private mental hospital run by Dr. Arthur Ruggles, a prominent member of the mental-health movement. Here he steadily declined. Ruggles and his associates decided against the use of electric shock, lest the therapy prove fatal to the great man. In the final weeks of his life, Beers rarely talked. Little publicity attended his sickness or his death which came on July 9, 1943. No more than twelve people were at his funeral held in New Haven, not far from the spot where, as a young man, he had attempted to commit suicide and thus, by a circuitous route, became the world founder of the mental-health movement.

While in his New York position, Hincks met many prominent people. One evening in a country club just outside of Wilmington, Del., Hincks had a memorable meeting with three members of one of the wealthiest families in the United States—Pierre, Lammot and Irénée du Pont. He was accompanied by two Canadian friends, Sir Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin, and Edward Hall who was later to become president of the University of Western Ontario. Hincks had arranged this meeting to allow Banting the opportunity of expressing some of his ideas about research in the medical field. “We’re at the oxcart stage of research as far as illness is concerned,” Banting told the du Ponts. “What is needed is a mass attack on disease. When industry has a research problem they put the best men and the best equipment on it until it’s licked. With enough money the same procedure could be followed in the fight against disease.”

It was Hincks’ idea that each major corporation in the United States adopt a particular illness, and support if with large sums of money over a period of several years. Thus, the du Ponts might choose epilepsy, General Motors schizophrenia, American Telephone and Telegraph arthritis and so on.

The du Ponts were enthusiastic and so were the other industrialists who were later approached. But World War II and Banting’s untimely death in a plane crash intervened. Hincks never revived the plan. “I was only the office boy,” he says. “I needed Banting’s brains and prestige. But I still think our plan would have speeded up medical progress by twenty years.”

in the latter years of his life, Banting developed a keen interest in mental illness. After returning from a tour of mental hospitals which Hincks arranged, Banting observed that the doctor’s superior attitude toward his patient interfered with treatment. On the other hand, he saw great therapeutic possibilities in the friendly, sympathetic attitude that existed between patients. “My suggestion,” he said, “is that we should send nurses into the wards disguised as patients. We need an army of young people with the spirit of Florence Nightingale.” The suggestion was never implemented.

Hincks resumed full-time leadership of the CMHA in 1938. He was glad to be back. “Canada is the greatest mental-health laboratory in the world,” he says. “We’re big enough to have a wide variety of people, yet we’re sufficiently small so that everyone is within reach of a new idea.” The following year he was mobilizing the skills of psychiatry and psychology to help win the war. With Drs. Jack Griffin, William Line, Brock Chisholm and many others, he was concerned with the practical problems of psychological testing, soldiers’ morale, battle fatigue and rehabilitation. He ventured to war-torn England on one occasion to do the advance work in connection with a project to send 33 specially trained Canadian workers to help with the children evacuated from London.

Last year Hincks resigned from the directorship of the CMHA in order to serve as adviser and consultant. Each day he is at his desk, receiving visitors from far and wide, holding conferences and outlining new schemes. His successor, Dr. Jack Griffin, describes him as “the inspiration and symbol and father figure” of the mental-health movement in Canada. Hincks comes to the regular Monday morning staff meetings clutching scribbled yellow sheets of paper pertaining to matters under discussion. “These are actually valuable documents,” says Griffin. “Everything we plan Hincks has either tried it himself or seen it tried elsewhere.”

Hincks spends a part of each day, pencil in hand, making notes on what remains to be done in the mental-health field. He agrees that giant strides have been made since the far-off days when he released a chalk-white patient from a coffinlike cupboard in a Manitoba mental hospital. “But,” he says, “I’m not at all impressed by what we already know or what we’ve already done. Till the end of my days I’d like to explore the possibilities that lie ahead.” ★

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *