The Influence of Quakers in Mental Healthcare

“We often fail to recognize that Quakers were tremendous innovators in behavioral health,” reflects Joe Pyle, president of the Thomas Scattergood Foundation—named after the 19th-century founder of Friends Hospital in Philadelphia.

We spoke with Joe (and Mary Crauderueff, who curates the hospital’s archives at Haverford College) about how the Quaker belief in treating everyone with equal dignity and respect transformed mental healthcare, and the role it can continue to play as we all process the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Friends Hospital, check out the Haverford Library’s portal, “Quakers and Mental Health.”

Learn more about the Scattergood Foundation here.

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2 thoughts on “The Influence of Quakers in Mental Healthcare

  1. Thanks for this important report! It brought to mind the enormous influence Quakers had on the major reforms in mental healthcare that occurred after WW II when those who had worked in mental hospitals across the nation as part of Civilian Public Service were discharged. They were shocked and horrified by the conditions they encountered in public institutions and published reports on their experiences that brought these conditions to light. They created an earthquake in the field, so to speak. I know this has been the subject of various articles and books on the subject. My father was one of those Quaker CPSers. In going through some of his papers recently, I found a copy of the manuscript he and others were preparing on the subject.

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