Author Affiliations: Departments of Psychiatry (Dr Katz) and Family Practice (Dr Coyne), University of Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Veterans Integrated Service Network 4 Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (Dr Katz), Philadelphia.
The article by Rabins et al,1 in this
issue of THE JOURNAL, exemplifies what the 1999 Surgeon General's report2 on mental health has called the public health approach
to mental health and mental illness. Characterized by concern for the health
of a population in its entirety, the public health model extends beyond the
traditional areas of diagnosis, treatment, and studies of the origins of disease
to include "epidemiological surveillance of the health of the population at
large, health promotion, disease prevention, and access to and evaluation
of services."2(p3) In terms of clinical activities,
this public health model extends beyond simple models that provide treatment
only for those who request care, to include systematic approaches to identifying
cases, facilitating access to treatment, ensuring the delivery of quality
care, and assessing the outcomes of treatment with respect to psychiatric
symptoms and other outcomes of public health significance.
Katz IR, Coyne JC. The Public Health Model for Mental Health Care for the Elderly. JAMA. 2000;283(21):2844-2845. doi:10.1001/jama.283.21.2844