10 SEPTEMBER 1921, Page 14

[To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."] Stu,—Your correspondent suggests

that mental breakdown is nothing more than an ordinary breakdown or functional derangement, and should therefore be looked at in the same sympathetic manner. This is an enlightened view, yet it almost justifies the brutal horrors of the " shell shock scan- dal" when carried to the point of suggesting confinement without differentiation between " border-line " cases and the certifiably diseased. Discipline and hospital treatment by all means, but not asylum treatment for any ordinary " border line" or " shell shock" case I Alas ! many of our homes are still in asylums. The War Office notified the next of kin that So-and-so was an inmate of D Block—by postcard O.H.M.S. How humanely tactful! Let the reader imagine himself " shocked" or having a breakdown, and think of the further shock and stigma of having been confined in an asylum when he was only "peculiar," and the danger of such a procedure will be apparent. The fact is, we are not sufficiently removed from looking on the deranged with a certain degree of amuse- ment—I mean as a crowd—to adopt a general policy of confine- meet, or asylum treatment, without grave social wrong.—I am,