Clifford Whittingham Beers

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Clifford Whittingham Beers

Clifford Whittingham Beers
Born Clifford Whittingham Beers
March 30, 1876(1876-03-30)
Westerville, Ohio, U.S.
Died July 9, 1943 (aged 67)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Yale University
Occupation Founder of the "National Committee for Mental Hygiene" (1909)
Founder of New Haven's Clifford Beers Clinic (1913), the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States
Known for Founder of the American Mental Hygiene Movement
Author of A Mind That Found Itself (1908)
Spouse(s) Clara (Jepson) Beers
Parents Robert Anthony Beers
Ida (Cooke) Beers

Clifford Whittingham Beers (March 30, 1876 – July 9, 1943) was the founder of the American mental hygiene movement.[1]

Beers was born in New Haven, Connecticut to Ida and Robert Beers on March 30, 1876. He was one of five children, all of whom would suffer from psychological distress and would die in mental institutions, including Beers himself (see "Clifford W. Beers, Advocate for the Insane"). He graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale in 1897,[1] where he was business manager of The Yale Record and a member of Berzelius.[2]

In 1900 he was first confined to a private mental institution for depression and paranoia. He would later be confined to another private hospital as well as a state institution. During these periods he experienced and witnessed serious maltreatment at the hands of the staff. His book A Mind That Found Itself (1908), an autobiographical account of his hospitalization and the abuses he suffered, was widely and favorably reviewed, became a bestseller, and is still in print.[1]

Beers gained the support of the medical profession and others in the work to reform the treatment of the mentally ill. In 1909 Beers founded the "National Committee for Mental Hygiene", now named "Mental Health America", in order to continue the reform for the treatment of the mentally ill.

He also started the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven in 1913, the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States.

Beers became Honorary President of the World Federation for Mental Health.

Beers was a leader in the field until his retirement in 1939.[1] He died in Providence, Rhode Island on July 9, 1943.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Thomas Szasz (2008). Psychiatry:The Science of Lies. p. 98. 
  2. "Clifford Whittingham Beers". History of the Class of 1897, Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University: Decennial Record 1897-1907. New Haven: The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Company. 1907. p. 4.


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