Mental Health in America: A Reference Handbook

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Mental Health in America: A Reference Handbook examines the evolution of mental health policy in America from the almshouses of colonial times and the dawn of psychoanalysis in the early 1900s to the community mental health revolution in the 1960s and the insurance problems plaguing the field today.

Addressing such conditions as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, anxiety, dementia, bipolar disorder, and depression, this work explores the changing definitions and explanations of mental illness and provides detailed analyses of treatments and their effects, including electroshock therapy, lobotomy, and psychotropic drugs. Readers will meet such key players as Horace Mann, who called for the insane to be made wards of the state, and assemblywoman Helen Thomson, an involuntary-treatment advocate referred to by her opponents as "Nurse Ratchett."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This work is recommended for public, high school, and undergraduate collections."



"highly recommended for all medical and sociology-related collections."


Library Journal

"Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers."



Library Journal

Kemp (public administration, California State Univ., Chico; Mental Health in the Workplace: An Employer's and Manager's Guide) opens with an incisive history of America's approach to mental disorders since the 19th century, then gives a fascinating chronology of cultural approaches to mental illness since 10,000 B.C.E. In the nine subsequent chapters, she presents clear-cut definitions of disorders (e.g., Alzheimer's, schizophrenia) and treatments (e.g., electroshock therapy, psychotropic drugs), field-relevant biographies (e.g., of involuntary-treatment advocate Helen Thomson), legislative debates, and eye-opening statistics. She also broaches the difficult issues of managed care, deinstitutionalization, and criminal recidivism, citing specific examples and court cases. A 26-page resource list and a valuable glossary of terms round out the book. Carefully researched and rich with insight; highly recommended for all medical and sociology-related collections.

—Savannah Schroll Guz
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781851097890
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/27/2007
  • Series: Contemporary World Issues Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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