The mental stress of war is worse for the “feeble and aged”

The war also affected the county lunatic asylum, with an unexpected imbalance in new admissions.

During the year [ending 31 March 1917] there were admitted 66 males, 72 females, total 138…

There has been an exceptional decrease in the admissions as compared with recent years, amongst whom were an unusually large number whose mental condition was associated with old age. This would indicate that the stress of war has had but little appreciable effect upon the virile members of the community, due primarily to the conditions arising from a plentitude of work with high wages, whilst on the feeble and aged the stress has reacted with telling results….

There has been a greatly increased strain placed on the Officers and subordinate staff as a result of the great depletion owing to the great war. The weekly and annual leave of the Attendants has been much curtailed, as also has been the weekly leave of the Nurses. A monetary allowance has been made in lieu of the leave lost….

Report to BCC of the Committee of Visitors of the Berkshire Lunatic Asylum, 31 March 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

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