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From The CriticsReviewer: Jayalakshmi Jambunathan, PhD, MSN, MA, BSN, BSc (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh)
Description: This book about Community Mental Health Teams (CMHT) addresses the needs of the specialists within these teams and provides clinical advice based on what has been working. In addition, recent development of functional CMHTs, such as assertive outreach, crisis resolution, and early intervention services, is described.
Purpose: The purpose is to delineate the difficulties and variations in community mental health team approaches as well as those in best practice. These are worthy objectives as the author attempts to emphasize the important differences in structure and function between the different CMHTs in order to make them better adapted to different patient needs. The author has not only described the different CMHTs, but also their different approaches with an emphasis on their similarities and differences; the book meets the objectives.
Audience: The book is written for all practitioners — nurses, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other therapists — comprising the mental health team. The author is a credible authority, a professor of social psychiatry at the University of Oxford. He was the consultant in charge of the Wandsworth Assertive Outreach Team.
Features: The book describes the pivotal role of community mental health teams in the provision of mental healthcare throughout the world. The professionals in these teams of nurses, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and other therapists work together to provide care for individuals with severe mental illnesses outside the hospital setting. The book briefly describes the evolution of the CMHTs, but delves deeply into how the multidisciplinary treatment team members can work effectively together, and who within the team should do what. Each content area is enhanced further by tables illustrating criteria, elements, and services of the different teams, making it easy to follow.
Assessment: This high quality book will be useful not only to professionals who are part of the multidisciplinary treatment teams, but also to those aspiring to be team members. As the author aptly states, the intent of the book is to describe the similarities and differences (more the similarities) because too often the differences are exaggerated.