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Article   |    
Delivering Mental Health Services to an Ambulatory, Low-Income Population
Carolyn I. Thornton
Psychiatric Services 1977; doi:
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Social Work and Mental Health Unit, Lincoln Community Health Center, Box 427, Durham, North Carolina 27702

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The social work and mental health unit of a comprehensive neighborhood health center delivers mental health services in coordination with general health services to ambulatory patients in a predominantly low-income black community. The unit works with other general health, mental health, and social service resources to provide a broad continuum of coordinated care. Services are provided to individuaLs, families, and groups, along with consultation, education, training, and referral. Before the unit was established in July 1971, the patients it serves were seen only for crisis intervention and in emergency rooms and did not have the benefit of a thorough evaluation or follow-up. Staff of the unit now identify potential medical and emotional problems before they reach the crisis stage, and they maintain contact with the patients to ensure that the prescribed regimen is carried out.

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