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This text examines the public mental health policies, programs, and services that constitute a collective response to mental illness. The author explores the process and politics of policy making as a framework for understanding historical and current policies and services related to mental illness. Special attention is given to mental health issues related to such population groups as ethnic minorities, women, children and adolescents, the homeless mentally ill, and older adults. Each chapter highlights controversial issues related to mental health policy development and program implementation. The book is especially relevant for students preparing for practice as mental health professionals in social work, nursing, psychology, and counseling.