Mental Health Advice to Employees

cover.jpgVia Boing Boing I have just read a fun pop psychology book from 1964, The Art of Living with Yourself, that has been scanned and posted online for everyone’s viewing pleasure. The blog that posted the book, A Hole in the Head, explains that the book was part of a series of books put out by The Mental Health Society of Chicago for Western Electric Company (all of the images can be enlarged for better viewing by clicking on them).

I’ve been trying to look up some information about the Mental Health Society of Chicago but haven’t been having much luck (unless it was related to Mental Health Chicago, the organization created by Clifford Beers in 1957?). However, I did come across a 1913 article in the New York Times entitled “Don’t Worry Says Railway: Illinois Central Instructs Its Employees How to Live Complacently” which caught my attention after just reading The Art of Living with Yourself. According to the article, the Illinois Central Railway issued a statement that year to its employees to “live complacently” and “avoid worry.” The short article continues on to quote the Railway as stating “Cultivate the art of living with yourself as you are and the world as it is” followed by the warning that:

“Of the mental causes, worry is the worst. Learn to be a master of your moods. Do not permit yourself to drift along like a helpless, rudderless bark tossed to and fro by every sensation of pain and every wind of mental distress.”

For a history of occupational health see:

Abrams, H. K. (2001). A Short History of Occupational Health. Journal of Public Health Policy, 22, 1, p. 34-80.

Fingret, A. (2000). Occupational Mental Health: A Brief History. Occupational Medicine, 50, p. 289-293. (available online).

About Jennifer Bazar

Jennifer Bazar is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. Her research focuses on the history of psychiatric institutionalization.

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