Circuit Riders for Mental Health
The Hogg Foundation in Twentieth-Century Texas
Medical Humanities - Texas History - Social Sciences - Medical Ethics
6.125 x 9.25, 216 pp.
24 b&w photos. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 09/23/2016
Price:        $40.00 s

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Circuit Riders for Mental Health

The Hogg Foundation in Twentieth-Century Texas

William S. Bush

Circuit Riders for Mental Health explores for the first time the transformation of popular understandings of mental health, the reform of scandal-ridden hospitals and institutions, the emergence of community mental health services, and the extension of mental health services to minority populations around the state of Texas. Author William S. Bush focuses especially on the years between 1940 and 1980 to demonstrate the dramatic, though sometimes halting and conflicted, progress made in Texas to provide mental health services to its people over the second half of the twentieth century. At the story’s center is the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, a private-public philanthropic organization housed at the University of Texas.

For the first three decades of its existence, the Hogg Foundation was the state’s leading source of public information, policy reform, and professional education in mental health. Its staff and allies throughout the state described themselves as “circuit riders” as they traveled around Texas to introduce urban and rural audiences to the concept of mental health, provide consultation for all manner of social services, and sometimes intervene in thorny issues surrounding race, ethnicity, gender, class, region, and social and cultural change.

WILLIAM S. BUSH is associate professor of history at Texas A&M–San Antonio and the author of Who Gets a Childhood?: Race and Juvenile Justice in Twentieth-Century Texas.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Penitentiaries bulge at the seams and urban intersections host broken people bearing ‘will work for food’ signs. Drug addiction has soared. Suicide rates spike among military personnel and veterans, and gun violence so frequently garners headlines that shock risks morphing into routine. With every crisis, talking heads bemoan the dearth of mental health programs in the United States. In Circuit Riders for Mental Health: The Hogg Foundation and the Transformation of Mental Health in Twentieth Century Texas, historian William S. Bush has written a timely, sparkling account of the Hogg Foundation’s near heroic efforts to put mental health on the political agenda in Texas. Thoroughly researched, intelligently conceived, and gracefully written, Circuit Riders for Mental Health should find a ready audience among historians, mental health professionals, and anyone intrigued with twentieth-century Texas.” —James S. Olson, distinguished professor of history at Sam Houston State University

“Author William S. Bush creates a compelling story that advances our understanding of the evolution of mental health services and reform in the Lone Star State. Extensively researched and masterfully written, [it] is a welcome contribution to the historiography of a little explored topic in Texas medical history.” —Heather Green Wooten, independent historian and author of The Polio Years in Texas

“This is important Texas history because it tells the story of Texans at their best, Texans who worked tirelessly to circulate mental health information, to reform public health policies and mental health codes, and to promote mental health education and training. Circuit Riders for Mental Health documents deep core values within the wider cultural context of our humanity and reveals the flexibility of and sensitivity for the people, communities, organizations, and public institutions of Texas. Every one of the 254 Texas county judges and their commissioners, every Texas mayor and city and town council member, every Texas state representative and senator, and especially the governor, commissioners, and directors of state agencies need to read this important book.” —Southwestern Historical Quarterly


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