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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Howard M. Kravitz, DO, MPH (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book is a product of the Committee on Prevention of Mental Disorders of the Institute of Medicine, which was mandated by Congress to prepare an integrated report of current research with policy-oriented and detailed long-term recommendations for a prevention research agenda for mental disorders. Advances in reducing risk factors for mental disorders are reviewed, and a targeted definition of prevention and a conceptual framework for emphasizing risk reduction and for designing, conducting, and analyzing preventive interventions are provided.
Purpose: The purpose is to examine what is currently known about the prevention of mental disorders and promotion of mental health and to outline the prospects for advances in that knowledge and its application during the next decade. In presenting its findings, the Committee provides a valuable sourcebook on mental disorder risk factor and prevention research.
Audience: The broad audience is mental and public health professionals. Included are adult and child psychiatrists, pediatricians, psychologists, nurses, social ecologists, sociologists, social workers, and epidemiologists. It is hoped that members of Congress will read it carefully, especially the sections on developing the infrastructure and funding recommendations. Clinical practitioners may have an interest in this book, because the goal is to develop preventive intervention programs for communities, but research needs are emphasized. The authors and Committee members are a distinguished group of experts.
Features: The text is cogently written and well edited. Tables, figures, and boxes highlight and outline textual material, and they are listed with the table of contents. The references are very up-to-date, including some from 1994 and in press. The appendixes provide additional useful information. For those who do not have time to read the 484-page document, Appendix A summarizes it in 67 pages, including the essential tables and figures.
Assessment: I expected a drab document on government policy but found instead an adventure novel on preventive psychiatry. The ending is an unsolved mystery: will Congress get the message in time and allocate the necessary funding? Medical libraries should carry a copy; mental health, public health, and preventive medicine specialists should read it; and medical bookstores should keep a copy or two available.