"I think we will never know the true extent of emotional illness in VIP's," said Zigmond Lebensohn, a Washington psychiatrist who has treated many such patients.
"The VIP has a great problem because he can't get treatment without front page headlines. And because they are VIPs, they are used to being treated specially," said Lebensohn.
Lebensohn has frequently sent patients to Silver Hill, in New Canaan, Conn., one of the most famous of the mental faclities that specialize in handling rich, powerful and famous people.
Lebensohn and Silver Hill's director, Dr. Robert Stubblefield, who made the dedication speech at Springwood at Leesburg, strongly support the concept behind Springwood and Silver Hill.
The term VIP takes in a number of groups - the rich, coporate and government executives, the famous, artists, politicians and doctors and their families.
T"I think they do better in their own group," Said Stubblefield, president-elect of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry among other positions in the psyhchiatric world. "This has a snobbish ring to it but there are people who do better in roughly their own background."
Lebensohn said, "Every society has a place like that for their VIPs."
He describes such people as "running at high speed and very vulnerable to what they see as failure. Many of them are surrounded by 'yes' men. Their illnesses are treated as eccentricities. It's like the emperor's clothes. No one will say he has no clothes."
Washington, he said, is a vulnerable town because of its high pressure. "Congressmen have a hell of a schedule, constant traveling . . . Mental illness is no something you want to advertise. A person often deals with it by massive denial."
Stubblefield said people controlling large organizations often "can't afford to feel deeply about everybody who works for them. They become isolated and guarded."
A study of 12 VIPs in Baltimore psychiatric facility found that treatment of 10 had been "complete therapeutic failures." In the other two cases, "improvement occurred only after the loss of VIP status."
One conclusion of that study was that "it is best, whenever possible, to arrange for their admission to insitutions in which thay have no influence."