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From The CriticsReviewer: Aaron Plattner, MD (Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services)
Description: This comprehensive review examines the broad area of community mental health.
Purpose: With the changing role of community mental health since its inception over 50 years ago, the editors discuss its history and evolution, the impact of community mental health, and how to best provide care in this setting. There is a growing need in this area of psychiatry and the editors reach their goals.
Audience: They identify the intended audience as "both trainee and qualified psychologists and psychiatrists involved in community mental health as well as healthcare professionals and students, mental health services planners and commissioners, service users and carer groups." While all of these groups could benefit from the book, likely those involved in community mental health on a long-term basis would best be able to use it. The editors chose well-qualified authors to write the chapters.
Features: The book's 10 sections include a short introduction, origins of community psychiatry, need for this field, various components of community psychiatry, ethical and legal aspects, the realities of the stigma and discrimination of mental illness, the impact and role of policies and funding issues, examination of the evidence-based research in community psychiatry, methods for evaluating the care that is being offered, and considerations of the future. Each chapter is broken down with subheadings, contains various helpful illustrations, and concludes with a summary and references. A very helpful index provides access to the vast amount of information.
Assessment: This sets the standard for future books in this area. Several chapters covered areas in which I had little knowledge, and they did a good job of presenting the information. However, readers not directly involved in community psychiatry will find several sections that are not very applicable to their area of psychiatry. Future editions will be needed when the DSM-V is produced and to reflect ever-changing government policies.