Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Book Review   |    
Mental Health Policy and Practice Today
Bert S. Furmansky, M.D., M.P.A.
Psychiatric Services 1999; doi:
View Author and Article Information

edited by Ted R. Watkins, D.S.W., and James W. Callicutt, Ph.D.; Thousand Oaks, California, Sage Publications, 1997, 397 pages, $58

text A A A

Mental Health Policy and Practice Today is an easy-to-read, multiauthored volume that is worthwhile for mental health professionals and policy makers who may require an up-to-date overview of trends in treatment and practice. However, it less effectively updates readers on policy issues and changes.

The book accurately describes the evolution of American mental health policy and practices, emphasizing the shift from institutional to community-based care. It reports how the legal and judiciary systems responded to and influenced the trend and how the change in level of service challenged the previous system and the various groups of providers.

The authors present a very readable update of research in both neuroscience and social factors pertaining to causality and treatment of mental illnesses. Many of the authors have an extensive background in social work. Advocacy and self-help movements are thoughtfully included as an integral part of the entire mental health system.

Ten of the 22 chapters address specific populations—immigrants and refugees, the homeless, the chronically mentally ill, veterans, minority groups of color, women, children and adolescents, older adults, criminal offenders, and substance abusers—outlining their psychopathology, service use, and specific treatment needs. These sections, as well as the overall scope of the book, are essential reading for professionals in many fields who are attempting to formulate or implement mental health policy for these specific populations.

The initial overview of the current mental health system and the shift to community-based outpatient care is excellent, as is the section on the impact of the courts. The volume contains readily available and very usable information about modern mental health practice and delivery systems that would be extremely useful for individuals who make policy decisions about the mentally ill.

For those who want to review or learn more about the legislative process, however, current information is lacking. One of the concluding chapters describes public-sector managed mental health care initiatives in some states. The volume does not report any of the major state legislative initiatives to reform the current private delivery system, and it overlooks addressing the juicy problems and controversial issues within the managed care system such as patient rights, confidentiality, professional liability, and ethics.

Mental Health Policy and Practice Today would be very useful for policy makers requiring current information on mental health practice. It falls short, however, in reporting the most recent public policy trends in the mental health system.

Dr. Furmansky is assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver and is president of the Mental Health Association of Colorado.




CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe

Related Content
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 22.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 22.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 22.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 22.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 22.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News
Read more at Psychiatric News >>
PubMed Articles