Ruth Irelan Knee: Influencing Progress in Mental Health

Kenneth Wedel


Ruth Irelan Knee (1920-2008) was a major player and eyewitness observer of dramatic changes in the treatment of the mentally ill. Early on in her career she experienced interdisciplinary treatment for the mentally ill and organized efforts for addressing mental health and other afflictions, which confront families and communities. She believed that social work could be at the forefront in developing rational approaches to addressing mental health and other social issues through community development. And she placed great value in having social workers at the table with other disciplines to accomplish needed change. Throughout her career and life she stood out as an extraordinary advocate for her chosen profession.


Ruth Knee, mental health legislation, treatment for mental illness, social work in mental health, long-term care ombudsman

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